Have you ever had a panic attack? It’s an awful feeling that is unexpected, debilitating, and intense. If you’re fortunate enough to have never experienced a panic attack, then most likely you’ve still experienced profound moments of overwhelming stress. Fortunately, there are ways to counteract those feelings that you can use at any time. Scroll down below for 3 breathing techniques that will aid you with stress management.
Do a Google search on ‘breathing techniques for relaxation’ and you’ll find a million people telling you a million ways to find peace through breathing – it’s enough to stress anyone out. What to make of it all? The truth is, breathing really can help relieve stress. (In fact, Healthline did a great job cataloging 10 general breathing techniques here.)
Today, however, we’re going to focus specifically on stress relief. Here are a few breathing techniques that you can use anytime during the day or night.
Abdominal breathing, or belly breathing, increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the nervous system, causing a state of calmness. When you take deep, calm breaths for 20-30 minutes each day, the American Institute of Stress says your body begins its “relaxation response”. This response includes a decrease in heart rate, blood pressure, rate of breathing, and muscle tension. Give it a try!
The Quieting Response utilizes visualization and deep breathing to stop an acute stress response in its tracks. This is a quick exercise compared to abdominal breathing. In fact, the entire exercise only takes a minute!
First “smile inwardly” with your eyes and mouth and release the tension in your shoulders. This is a powerful muscle release in the places where most people hold their muscles tense. Then imagine holes in the soles of your feet. As you take a deep breath in, visualize hot air flowing through these holes moving slowly up your legs, through your abdomen, and filling your lungs. Begin to relax your muscles as the hot air moves through them up your body. When you exhale reverse the visualization so you “see” hot air coming out the same holes in your feet.
You’ll be amazed how well this visualization calms your entire body down. Repeat throughout the day whenever you feel the need to relax.
Teddy Bear Breathing
Do you have a child who gets easily worked up? Then this breathing technique might be the perfect routine for your little one.
Have your child lie on their back, placing one hand on their chest and the other on their favorite teddy bear (or stuffed doll) that rests on their belly button. Have them close their eyes and relax their entire body.
Direct your child to breathe in slowly through their nose. The teddy bear should slowly rise, but the chest should not. After having taken a full deep breath, hold it, count to three and then slowly breathe out. Repeat a few times, until your child feels nice and relaxed.
Did you find these deep breathing techniques helpful for you and your family? Do you have a technique you’d like to recommend? I encourage you to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you! Also, if you’re looking to add more calm to your life, I recommend checking out “Calming Meditations You Can Use Right Now”. And be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to receive more great tips straight to your inbox each Friday.