deep breathing, stress relief naturally, relaxation technique, relaxation recordingBreathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure. ~ Oprah Winfrey

Have you ever had one of those days where you were so stressed that you felt like you could use some help to save your sanity? If so, you’ll be happy to discover a strategy you can use to reduce stress and improve your health at the same time. This strategy is easy and convenient, and it’s called “deep breathing.”

One response to stress is shallow breathing. This type of breathing is not the best way to draw air into the body, since you are mostly filling the upper part of your lungs. On the other hand, diaphragmatic or deep breathing fills the lungs with life-giving oxygen. This type of breathing fills the lungs to their capacity.

Here is a deep breathing exercise. While lying on your back or sitting in a chair, place your hands on your abdomen near your naval. Take deep breaths, feeling the rise and fall of your abdominal area. Taking a few deep breaths will not only oxygenate your body but also will help improve circulation, decrease anxiety and increase alertness.

We automatically breathe without thinking about it too much, unless a medical condition affecting breathing is present. The moment we bring breathing into awareness, we begin to control how we breathe. The beauty is that it doesn’t cost you anything to breathe. But when is it appropriate to do breathing exercises? And how often can they be done?

When To Do Deep Breathing Exercises

There are no hard-and-fast rules stipulating when to do breathing exercises. It really depends on what you’re wishing to achieve by doing them.

You can use breathing exercises at any time to:

• Achieve a state of calm
• Feel alive, invigorated, and ready for your day
• Reduce stress in tense situations
• Wind down at the end of the day

When you wake up in the morning, you may wish to do some quick deep breathing exercises to feel invigorated and ready to go. You can go outside, take a deep breath, and then breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth.

This breathing exercise can serve as a workout for your abdominal muscles and lungs. It can make you feel quite refreshed at the beginning of your day and provides a similar effect to taking a morning jog.

When you’re having a rough day at work or dealing with conflict, you can use a few calming breaths to help reduce stress. Sit back, close your eyes, and take a deep breath. Hold it in and then let it out. Repeat the process until you feel relaxed.

Health Benefits of Breathing Exercises

If you just need a quick lift, then you’ll only need to spend a short time here and there doing some deep breathing exercises. On the other hand, if you’re looking to have a significant impact on your health and serenity, you can form a routine of several breathing exercises throughout your day.

Whatever the duration, breathing exercises may bring you many health benefits, including:

• Reduce your blood pressure
• Calm your nerves
• Tighten your core muscles
• Aid in better digestion
• Aid in the elimination of waste and toxins
• Bring you higher levels of energy
• Increase your awareness of the functions within your body
• Reduce stress

Your own results will depend upon the type and frequency of breathing exercises you use.

Anyone Can Benefit From Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises can benefit virtually anyone. The only individuals who should take extreme caution are those with respiratory issues. Always check with your physician before attempting these exercises.

Nevertheless, sit back, close your eyes, and enjoy the relaxing effects that deep breathing can provide. It’s an effective solution to reduce stress, bring you peace, and improve your life.

21 thoughts on “The Art of Deep Breathing: A Sanity-Saving Strategy”

  1. I think people underestimate how well this works! I use it in stressful situations or anytime I feel anxiety rising. It really is a helpful (and easy!) tool!

  2. I love deep breathing exercises. After being a smoker for many years, I'm very grateful to still be around to breathe deeply so I do it as often as I can. 🙂

  3. Learned this many years ago, and it has been helpful through healthy times and sick times.  I honestly believe we should teach this in schools.

  4. This made me realize how easy it would have been last evening to break a vicious cycle:  when I saw how much had NOT been completed during the particularly challenging day.  I could feel my chest tensing … until I finally said, "Sharon, none of it is fatal."  (All that could have been fatal is the result of NOT letting it go.)  But, oh, how a series of good deep breaths would have cut the cycle before I even got there.  Thanks, Lisa.  I'm putting a big sign "BREATHE" over my desk right now!

    1. Lisa Birnesser

      I loved how you put your thinking in perspective! So many times we think not getting something done is fatal.

  5. Thank you for the wonderful reminder Lisa.  I often times forget how useful simply breathing can be!  Certainly a powerful tool for relieving stress! 

  6. AMEN!  What a great article!  I found myself using deep breathing this morning while I was driving home from dropping off my son at preschool.  Have you ever felt llike your whole body was one raw nerve?  I am not sure if it is hormonal, sleep deprevation, stress over a quilt that has me stumped or the fact that I have a 4 year old who is learning to use his words a little too well…whatever it was I was a mess!  A little deep breathing in pictureing air going into my body and picturing the stress going out my toes as I breathed out.  After a little while I felt much better (however, be careful doing this for the first time…you can get dizzy, hyperventilate or pass out). : D.

  7. I love reading your tips Lisa.. as you know I'm having a hard time dealing with stress and I'm trying different method beside drugs and I love reading all your ideas. I am so glad I met you! You were just the right person to come into my life at the perfect time!

  8. Great advice Lisa, breathing is so important to calm our nerves and get the energy we need… I love breathing with awareness. Thank you! 🙂

  9. Thanks for the great reminder.  Just paying attention to my breathing and getting quiet can help me "center down."  Can I just say, I LOVE your blog??  It's always beneficial to me to come here!

  10. This is great for me to read.  I found out a few weeks ago that I'm not too good at deep breathing as I was getting a massage 😉 

  11. It really does make a difference to "stop and take a deep breath." It's amazing how quickly it can clear our minds and help us to feel more calm and in control.

  12. Yes, yes, yes!  I start out my yoga classes teaching breathing…every single class!  It's so important. Love love love your post!!!

  13. I love the use of deep breathing, and use it fairly frequently. I don't know that I've experienced the other benefits you list, but it really does help with stress reduction! 🙂

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