Deep Breathing Exercises for Stress Relief

Every breath you take draws in oxygen and every exhalation expels carbon dioxide. This helps free the body of unnecessary carbon impurities, while also producing wakefulness and better concentration with each gulp of oxygen to the brain. Deep breathing exercises utilize this concept to help calm individuals during stressful conditions in which their breathing and heart rate may become irregular. There are plenty of types of deep breathing exercises you can follow to stay cool during heated situations.

Proper Breathing

Start by sitting or lying on a carpeted floor, hands to the side, palms up, legs straight and toes pointed upward or outward. After taking the time to get comfortable, breathe in through your nostrils. Your nose hairs and the mucous inside your nasal cavity will help to filter out any toxins in the air; also, it will provide oxygen to the brain quicker. Keep your mouth closed while breathing in, inhaling until you feel both your chest and lower abdomen fill with air. Then let it out through your mouth, slowly and calmly. Repeat this a few times until you feel relaxed and rested.

The Relaxing Sigh

Research at the University of South Florida suggests that yawning provides oxygen to the lungs for waking up the body whenever it feels tired. Likewise, sighing can release tension, supply oxygen and produce the sensation of relaxation. Either sitting or standing, calmly inhale deeply through your nose, wait a second and then let the air rush out from your lungs and mouth, making a sighing sound as you do so. Repeat this a few times across the day until you experience feelings of less stress.

Imaginative Breathing

Once again, place your body into a relaxed position and put one hand over your solar plexus, the spot where your ribs begin to separate within your abdomen. As you inhale through your nose, picture that breath of air refreshing and revitalizing your body. Feel it circulate throughout as it lifts your solar plexus. According to an article in USA Today, a 2002 government survey of more than 30,000 adults found that 12 percent of them practice deep breathing exercises as an alternative form of medicine, and for the most part, stress reduction exercises, like deep breathing, do prevent burnout from prolonged stress that can wear down your immune system. Therefore, imagine the healing effects of your breath as you breathe in and out to increase the benefits of your breathing exercises.

About this Author

Sky Smith has been writing on psychology, electronics, health, and fitness since 2002. He graduated from the University of Florida with honors in 2005, earning a B.S. in psychology and statistics with a minor in math. He writes articles for LIVESTRONG and eHow.