If you are looking for a way to de-stress and relax, deep breathing can be a great strategy. Here is how to deep breathe for relaxation and stress management.
Stress is an inevitable part of life, unfortunately. Stress can come from anywhere and sometimes, even things we are excited about can also be stressful, such as planning a wedding or vacation or the coming of a new child. Managing stress is really an art form. It can come in the form of making sure you are well organized, taking time off, or balancing work and play. Even if you are really good at managing stress, you may still find times where you need help relaxing. This is where deep breathing can really be useful. Here are some tips on how to deep breathe for relaxation and stress management.
Why Deep Breathing Helps with Anxiety and Stress
Before I get into how to deep breathe, let's first talk about why this works. When your mind is stressed out or anxious, your brain releases chemicals that, if we were being chased by a bear, would help us run to get away. Unfortunately, our brain doesn't understand the difference between everyday stress and stress like this so the same response happens no matter what. When we are in this mode, it's called ‘fight or flight'. Being in this mode for too long causes anxiety and stress.
Deep breathing actually ‘resets' this and helps flush away this chemical by lowering blood pressure, relaxing our muscles and reducing our heart rate. If you do it often enough, it can almost become automatic in times of stress.
How to Deep Breathe for Relaxation and Stress Management
First, if at all possible for the first few times you do this, find a place where you can be in a quiet space. It is important to not have distractions while you work on the techniques before you get good at them.
You can be in whatever position feels most relaxing for you, but most people lie flat on their backs or sit with their back straight.
To begin, place your hand on your stomach just below the ribs gently. You won't have to do this every time, but when you are learning how to do this, it will help you feel the breathe easier and help you find a rhythm. Close your eyes.
Breathe in deep through your nose slowly, for 5 seconds per breath. Exhale slowly for 5 seconds through your mouth. You should try to push as much air out through your mouth as possible before taking another breath in.
Do this as long as you want in order to achieve a sense of inner-calmness. For some people, this can be just a couple minutes. You will find it easier to do in the moment as you practice.