Mental Health

Breathing Exercises for Stress

The Source

July 11, 2018

Breathing Exercises for Stress

Stress is a common factor in many of our lives. Whether you’re pregnant for the first time, a mom with several young children, a student with a busy class schedule, or an individual in any number of other situations, there’s a good chance you are faced with people or events that can increase your stress levels.

We spoke with one of our Licensed Professional Counselors to learn a basic breathing exercise that she shares with her clients to help them overcome stress. This exercise can be done at almost any time and place and can help to refocus the mind and foster peace in high stress moments or situations. There are two different variations of this exercise that she teaches clients.

Version One

Start by getting into a relaxing, comfortable position, and close your eyes to help you stay focused on this exercise. Breathe in deeply through your nose and hold that breath for three to five seconds. Slowly release the breath you’ve been holding by using your stomach muscles to push the air out. Repeat these steps three to five times before you move on to your next activity.

Version Two

Start by getting into a relaxing, comfortable position, and close your eyes to help you stay focused on this exercise. Picture a safe place in your mind. This could be a place you know in real life where you feel safe like a good friend’s home or a church, a place in nature like a mountain or a beach, or a completely imaginary place. As you hold this picture in your mind, take a deep breath in and feel the warmth of that safe place. Hold your breath for three to five seconds and focus on those feelings of warmth. As you breathe out, imagine breathing out all of your fear and stress, pushing them as far away from you as possible. Repeat these steps three to five times before you move on to your next activity.