You’ve had a long day at the office, a hard day studying for exams, or just a hectic week and you’re feeling stressed. It’s been scientifically proven that specific breathing techniques can help. The way you breathe impacts your brain, sending signals, letting it know that it’s okay to relax.
Try these three breathing techniques that are proven to help ease stress, and let the weight of the day melt off your shoulders.
1) Deep Breathing
Deep breathing exercises help your brain promote relaxation. Experts say that it helps ease symptoms of stress, such as a fast heart rate, rapid breathing, and hypertension. Practice a deep breath through a technique known as “belly breathing.”
- Make sure you’re in a comfortable position
- Place one hand on your stomach and one on your chest
- Breathe in through your nose and draw the breath into your stomach, causing it to expand
- Exhale through pursed lips and let your stomach deflate
- Repeat this slowly up to ten times
2) Counted Breathing
When we’re stressed, we often breathe more quickly. To slow the process down and help ease stress, try the technique of counted breathing.
- Inhale through your nose with slowly counting up to five
- Slowly exhale through your mouth, this time counting up to eight
- Repeat as necessary until you feel your breath settle into a deep, slow rhythm
This technique is also known as the 4-7-8 breathing method.
3) Body Scan Breathing
Body scan breathing is an excellent technique to ease stress if you have some time to set aside. The technique focuses on relaxing your body little by little, with a focus on the breath.
- Lie down with your legs stretched out and arms at your sides
- Do nothing except focus on your breath for several minutes, getting in-tune with your body
- Bring your attention to one area of your body and recognize anything you are feeling in that specific part
- Breathe profoundly and envision your breath flowing freely through that area, bringing a sense of lightness to your body
- Focus on the area for up to five seconds
- Repeat this “scan” through the rest of your body, with the same focus of letting your breath flow through you
- Remain in the relaxed position after you have completed the entire scan, noticing how you’ve decompressed
There are many reasons to practice breathing exercises, and easing stress is just one of the many benefits. Science proves that the power of breathing can accomplish great things for our bodies, so give it a try.