When you are stressed, you tend to take short, shallow breaths from your upper chest. This limits oxygen and increases stress. Deep breathing, however, helps maximize the amount of available oxygen in your whole body, which sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. It’s one of the most useful relaxation techniques that is relatively easy to learn and can be practiced anytime, anywhere.
Here’s how to use deep breathing for relaxation:
- Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes.
- Place one hand over your breastbone and the other over your belly. As you take a deep breath in through your nose, allow your belly to push out. The hand on your chest should not move.
- Exhale through your pursed lips and let your belly to go in until all of the air has been blown out.
- Do not hold your breath at any point. Practice this technique for 1- 10 minutes at least twice per day. Then use it any time you begin to feel tense, like when you are sitting in traffic, feeling overwhelmed, or dealing with a challenging situation.