Three Simple Breathing Exercises to Release Stress

Our anxiety levels are at an all-time high, especially after experiencing several waves of massive social change – with lots of masks and hand sanitizer thrown in. So, how about we try to calm our state of mind with small gestures?

It is believed that linking a new habit to an already ingrained daily routine increases the possibilities of developing and acquiring this new practice. Therefore, if you add one of these exercises to an activity that is already part of your day, such as drinking tea or coffee when you wake up, you may have more success in carrying out your new ritual.

To neutralize mental and physical agitation, taking advantage of the rhythm, control and strength of your breathing, we have three exercises that will help you feel much better, bringing you several emotional, mental, physical and spiritual benefits. You can use this tool whenever and wherever you want to free yourself instantly. Calm your mind and focus on the present moment.

Exercise 1

This form of slow, steady breathing exercises is combined with progressive muscle relaxation to calm the entire body. Start by lying on your back or sitting comfortably in a quiet environment.

Consider using a yoga mat with a rolled-up cushion under your head and neck, as well as a blanket over your body to keep you comfortable. Place one hand on your belly and, if desired, on your heart.

Start by taking deep, long breaths. Having a slow pace is important. Your breath should be approximately one inhale for six seconds and one exhale for another six seconds. Once you get into this slow breathing pattern, continue the rhythm and begin to focus on the feelings of tension as well as the feelings of relaxation in your body.

As you inhale, pretend that your breath is going directly to your face, head and neck, expanding that part of your body, and as you exhale, let the muscles in that area fully relax. On the next inhale, move down to the next muscle group, shoulders and back, inhaling and exhaling. Do this for each muscle group in the body, working from head to toe: head, neck and face; shoulders and back; arms; ribs and chest; belly and hips; thighs; knees and calves; ankles and feet.

Exercise 2

Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down, in a calm and quiet environment. You can keep your hands in your lap, lying next to your body, or place one hand on your belly and the other on your heart.

Start breathing in, quickly and deeply for four seconds. After four seconds of inhalation, hold your breath for seven seconds.

Then release the exhale, slowly and precisely for eight seconds. Repeat everything again.

To make this exercise easier, you can do just three or four sets at a time or whatever is most comfortable for you.

Exercise 3

Whenever we breathe slowly and deeply, specifically long exhalations, this calming breath sends a signal to the body to let it know we are safe. This gives your brain the note that everything is fine.

Find a comfortable place to lie down. Once you are comfortable, start breathing deeply and slowly. At the top of your breath – when you finish inhaling – notice if you can take in a little more air and then slowly exhale.

Your exhale should be approximately twice the length of your inhale. If this exercise is difficult for you to do, don't give up and do your best.

Practice this exercise for as long as you want. Ideally, do it for 10 minutes.

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