3 Breathing Exercises for Stress Management

  • By Jennifer Mulder
  • 29 October 2018
  • 3 minute read
3 Breathing Exercises for Stress Management | The Health Sessions

This article is written by Gavin Wilson from Good Air Geeks

Stress. The one word that everyone, everywhere, can relate to. Why is it so significant? Stress can have such a major impact on your life without you even realizing the depth of its effect. While some people thrive well in stressful situations and actually rely on that extra pressure, normally one would want to reduce levels of stress as much as possible.

What does stress affect? Well for starters, it can impact your sleep, which can lead to many other issues. It can affect the way you eat, your emotions, your weight and your ability to focus. So what can we do to help reduce stress? One important way to release tension is to mind your breathing. Let’s take a look at 3 breathing exercises for stress management.

First, You Must Find a Place

When it comes to stress, you want to create a space that encourages peacefulness and calmness. A place that will allow you to focus solely on your breathing, feel safe and also allows you to sit or lay down while eliminating all of the extra going on around you. When creating this space, you may want to have soft scents filling the air around you, there are some great essential oils you can use to reduce stress and encourage calmness and serenity such as Lavender or Frankincense.

Some find that the air quality can impact the stress you feel and that the warmer the air the higher the stress and anxiety. One way to eliminate that is by finding the best cool air humidifiers for your home. Humidifiers will add moisture to your air thus eliminating dry warm air and allow you to breathe better thus aiding in exercises we are about to discuss.

1. Breathe Counting

This is exactly how it sounds, counting your breaths. It may seem absolutely pointless but trust the process. You are going to want to close your eyes and focus with this one, preferably done in a sitting position to keep your spine tall and your diaphragm open. You will take a deep breath and as you exhale count to one. Simple right? It really is. Now, the next big breath you take, you will exhale and count to two. The next, count to three. Keep this going, increasing the number count until you eventually reach a count of 6 or 7. Going any further than that is not really focusing on the breathing but more so seeing how far you can go and can end up putting more tension on the body.

2. Equal Breathing

This technique is easy and quick to use anywhere but is especially effective when you’re lying in bed struggling to get to sleep. Start with a count of two. Breathe in for two counts and breathe out for two counts. Start increasing the count each time for both the inhale and exhale. Focus on relaxing the body more and more each time you exhale. Imagine sinking lower and lower into your bed. A great point to aim for and potentially stop at would be a count of ten for both inhaling and exhaling. Chances are you’ll already be asleep at this point but if not you’re getting some excellent breathing practice and I can bet you’ll be quite relaxed and not too far off from finding that great sleep you were looking forward to.

3. Progressive Relaxation

Progressive Relaxation has to be one of the most popular relaxation techniques used in yoga studios. This exercise not only focuses on your breathing but allows you to take the focusaway from your brain and to each group of muscles in your body. To utilize this technique you will want to tense and relax the muscles in your body starting at your toes. Breathe in for a count of five while you tense up your feet muscles and then as you breathe back out relax them, move up to your calves doing the same until you’ve reached the top. You can also reverse once you’ve reachedthe top and go back down and add in some wiggling or slight movement of the muscles as you go creating more blood flow and awareness to each area.


Many underestimate how effective breathing can truly be. In sports,we learn to inhale through our nose and out through our mouths to help keep our heart rate down. You can use that same technique when trying to relax. Any number of breathing exercises can help to calm you down and take the focus away from the things that are causing you stress. Find yourself in a stressful situation, close your eyes and focus on your breath, imagine it flowing into your body, filling into your lungs and then you exhaling it back out. Breathe in the positive and breathe out the negative. You will be mighty surprised at how effective this can be.

Author bio: Gavin Wilson writes for Goodairgeeks.com, a weblog for eco-friendly living, providing tips, news and ideas for sustainable living.

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