3 Super Easy Breathing Exercises for Stress & Anxiety

Feel your stress and anxiety begin to ease with these exercises.

Have you ever noticed the way your breath feels when you are relaxed? It is usually easy, unconscious, slower, and less rapid. You can notice this type of breathe when you are relaxed or when you first wake up in the morning.

Now, what does your breath feel like when you are stressed or anxious? You might answer that it becomes shallow, fast, and your heart rate & blood pressure probably increase as a result of your rapid breathing.

Any type of rapid breathing as a result of stress, anxiety, fear, overwhelm, and so on, will most likely increase the intensity of those emotions and create your body to react by tensing up.

However, there are ways to combat those reactions!

Deep breathing has been shown to be one of the best ways to lower stress and anxiety. It does this by tricking your brain into thinking you are relaxed. When your brain calms down it then sends a message to the rest of your body to relax which slows your breathing and decreases heart rate & blood pressure. Overall, this leads to a clearer head and calmer energy.

So as you can see, breathing is a game-changer when it comes to handling those more intense negative emotions.

Learning and practicing different ways to breathe is an extremely helpful tool that can be used at any time and anywhere to relax, reduce tension, and relieve stress.

How do breathing exercises work?

I particularly love breathing exercises because they take you out of your head and into your body.

Breathing exercises are easy to learn and easy to make your own. There are many different types of exercises that you can test out to see which one feels best for you. It took me a while to find what exercise I liked best so don’t be too hard on yourself.

If you have never done breathing exercises before, it may feel odd or uncomfortable at first because it’s new. But don’t fret! Sometimes it takes some practice to get comfortable with it or trying a different breathing exercise that may work better for you.

So, without further ado, here are 3 super easy breathing exercises to help you relieve stress and anxiety!

Belly Breathing

  1. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and close your eyes or soften your gaze.
  2. Put one hand over your belly and the other over your heart.
  3. Take a slow deep breath in through your nose and breath into your belly by letting it expand and move your hand out with it.
  4. Slowly breath out completely through the nose or mouth and feel your hand fall back in towards your body.
  5. You can repeat this in 5–10 cycles of breath or as many times as desired.
  • Tip: during belly breathing bring all your attention to the sensation of your hand on your belly, your breath moving in and out of your belly, and/or the movement your belly makes up and down.

4–7–8 Breathing

  1. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and close your eyes.
  2. You can put one hand over your belly and the other over your heart or have your hands lie gently by your sides.
  3. Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose and breath into your belly while you count to 4, in your head.
  4. At the top of your inhale, hold your breath and silently count to 7.
  5. After the 7 seconds, control your breath and breath out completely for a count of 8. Try to get all the air out of your lungs by the time you get to 8.
  6. You can repeat this in 5–10 cycles of breath or as many times as desired.
  • Tip: you can do this same exercise with box breathing. The only difference with box breathing is the count is the same for the inhale, hold, and exhale. Example: inhale for 5 seconds, hold for 5, exhale for 5 (5x5x5)

Breathe with your body

  1. Begin in a standing position with your arms by your sides. Close your eyes or soften your gaze down.
  2. Breathing normally, consciously ground your feet into the ground beneath you by imagining roots coming out of your feet and into the ground.
  3. Once you have settled in, take your first big inhale by slightly bending your knees and lifting your arms all the way up and over your head. Slowly straighten your knees with your inhale and as your arms reach up.
  4. Now, keeping your knees straight, exhale all the air out, and float your arms back down by your sides.
  5. You can repeat this in 5–10 cycles of breath or as many times as desired.
  • Tip: get your body as involved as you want. You can be silly and dance with your breath any way that feels good for you.

🌻❤️Follow my Instagram for more information and demonstration on breathing exercises and information on soul enlightenment, mental health, and personal development — @skylarraeblog

Cal State Long Beach student | mental health advocate | goal is to inspire others through articles on mental health & general wisdom on life. IG: @skylarraeblog