Discover 4 Breathing Techniques to Fight Stress

Do you suffer from stress or anxiety? Learn some incredible breathing techniques that can help!
Discover 4 Breathing Techniques to Fight Stress

Last update: 04 May, 2022

Did you know that when you experience stress your breathing changes? Both stress and anxiety are survival mechanisms. They, in effect, “invite us” to flee from whatever our brain interprets as harmful or dangerous. In stressful situations we would do well to learn some good breathing techniques, and we’ll be bringing you some of the best today.

In situations of stress, your nervous system and your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) react to this type of emotion in a very intense way.

This is why your heartbeat accelerates, your pulse increases, and your breathing is out of sync. All of these symptoms can increase your risk of suffering from a heart attack, angina pectoris, or even a stroke.

Don’t forget that poor breathing habits result in your body not receiving the level of oxygen it needs, causing further damage. You need to learn to manage your emotions better and learn to breathe properly.

After all, breathing well means living well.
We’ll teach you about four breathing techniques that can help.

1. “Square” breathing

Square breathing, also known as four-square breathing, or “samavriti pranayama”, is the simplest technique of all.

You can do it in bed just 20 minutes before you go to sleep. It will help you relax and get a deep and restful sleep.

Here’s how to do it.

The steps for squared breathing

  • Firstly, sit in bed with your back straight and legs crossed.
  • Then breathe deeply for three minutes while trying to relax.
  • After that, breathe in for three seconds, holding your breath for another three seconds, and finally take the last three seconds to exhale.
  • Rest for a moment.
  • Then, repeat the same sequence again, but this time increase the time to four seconds (inhale, hold, exhale).

You can repeat the same cycle until you get up to seven or eight seconds. It all depends on your experience and your personal characteristics.

2. Abdominal breathing techniques

If you think about it, what you did during square breathing was to inflate your chest area.

With abdominal breathing, you have a different objective: to focus your breathing on your diaphragm, a very effective way to treat stress, tension, and anxiety.

Steps to performing abdominal breathing

  • Firstly, lie on your bed or a sofa.
  • Then place one hand on your chest and another on your stomach.
  • Take a deep breath through your nose for three seconds.
  • Pay attention to how your abdomen extends and your upper chest stretches.
  • Finally, exhale slowly for four seconds.

Ideally, you should perform 10 very slow exercises while concentrating on that “magic” zone, the diaphragm.

3. Alternative nasal breathing

A woman practicing nasal breathing

Alternative nasal breathingit’s a good idea to do a little every day to become aware of its progressive benefits.

Once you finally get used to it, you’ll notice two things:

  • Firstly, it will help you channel and release stress.
  • Secondly, it will allow you to focus your attention on the here and now.

Steps to alternative nasal breathing

  • Firstly, sit in a comfortable position with your back straight.
  • Relax for a few minutes.
  • Then, use the thumb of your right hand to cover your right nostril.
  • Take a deep breath through your left nostril. Do it very slowly.
  • When you’ve reached the maximum of your inhale and you can’t take in more air, close the left nostril with your right ring finger.
  • Then, exhale out of the other side.
  • Then you will do the same thing again, but on opposite sides. Once you’ve inhaled as much as you can through the right nostril, close it off and exhale through the left.

At first it might seem complicated because you have to be careful to cover one side and open the other. As you get used to it, however, the exercise becomes rhythmic and very relaxing.

4. “Consistent” breathing

A woman practicing breathing exercises for stress.
requires some practice and patience

As soon as you manage to control it, however, your whole body will benefit.

  • Consistent breathing involves breathing five times a minute.
  • In this way, you optimize your heart rate and relax the nervous system. It’s an amazing way to channel tension and it can be very helpful.

Discover 6 relaxation exercises to sleep peacefully

How to do it

  • Firstly, sit with a straight back.
  • Set a clock in front of you.
  • The goal is to inhale and exhale five times in a single minute.
  • It’s a good idea to first test your ability to control your breathing.
  • If you can’t limit yourself to five breaths a minute, start with six or seven.
  • The idea is to reach five breaths over 60 seconds, however. Once you can do that, you’ll feel much better.

Give these great breathing techniques a try!

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