Breathing exercises to manage stress

Breathing exercises to manage stress

Stress is the common denominator for survival. Yet, it also has undesirable effects, such as tension, which we can however reduce or eliminate with simple relaxation exercises.

Last update: Augusts 15, 2021

Breathing exercises are a simple, fast, and very effective way to manage stress and anxiety. This is because when we get stressed, our heart beats accelerate due to the action of the stress hormone cortisol; as a result, breathing also accelerates.

Breathing with pauses favors the reduction of heart rate, therefore, the feeling of fear and internal tension that accompany stress disappears.

It is not necessary to undergo a relaxation session to do this; just perform the breathing exercises for five to ten minutes. This is a very practical method, which you can perform anywhere and in any situation. In the following lines we present some breathing exercises that can be used in case of stress.

Air is your food and your drug.


Breathing exercises to manage stress

1. Fair breathing exercises

Fair breathing comes from yoga. The purpose of this exercise is to promote balance between the body and the mind. We could say that it is the most basic and also the most effective type of breathing.

It is a nasal breathing, in which all you have to do is take the breath while counting to four, then exhale for a count of four more. This exercise may be particularly effective before going to sleep; a kind of pleasant call to sleep.

2. Abdominal breathing

Moments of intense stressful stress are ideal for performing abdominal breathing exercises. For example, before an exam or public presentation; or in situations where you are particularly enthusiastic or receive news that is very difficult to accept.

The technique should be performed in the following way: put one hand on the chest and the other on the abdomen; breathe in deeply with your nose. Therefore, act as if you were to swallow air. If done correctly, you will feel the abdomen expand, as will the diaphragm. Repeat 6 to 10 times per minute for.

3. Impaired breathing

This technique is especially recommended in times when you are looking for a solution to a difficulty and finding it seems impossible, but also when it is not possible to concentrate or no good idea comes to mind no matter how hard you try.

Here is what the technique in question consists of: with your thumb, squeeze the nose and close the right nostril. So, breathe deeply, as long as possible. When you feel that you have inhaled fully, place your finger on the left nostril and exhale with the right. Repeat, alternating the nostrils for about five minutes.

4. Breathing exercises to manage stress: progressive relaxation

Here is one of the breathing exercises to do when you feel nervous or restless. It is particularly recommended for times of distress when we feel in danger, without being able to identify what threatens us.

Likewise, it is highly recommended to help you fall asleep, as, as its name indicates, it leads to gradual relaxation.

The aim is to stimulate each muscle group, inhaling through the nose, and then stimulating the relaxation phase by exhaling through the mouth. Start with your feet, with your eyes closed. Think about your feet and push them as you can, as you inhale for a count of five.

Once this is done, always exhale for a count of five, and then relax. Continue moving down towards the thighs, buttocks, abdomen, arms, hands, neck, jaw and eyes.

5. Breathing of the brilliant awakening

This is a slightly more complex breathing exercise, which requires you to already be trained in abdominal breathing.

This technique consists of a slow and deep inhalation phase, holding the breath in the abdomen and then exhaling immediately, as fast as you can. The idea is to increase the pace until you reach 10 such breaths per minute.

Sometimes stress manifests itself in psychological overload, despondency and disinterest. This type of breathing is appropriate in these situations. It is able to wake up and helps to see everything with optimism and vitality. It is also a great idea to perform this exercise when you are feeling particularly fatigued.


The breathing exercises presented in this article are very simple, don't take a lot of time, and can make the difference between a pleasant and an unpleasant moment. Do not hesitate to perform them when you feel that you have lost your inner calm due to stress.

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