Stress Management: Deep Breathing

What is deep breathing?

Deep breathing is a way to quiet your body and calm your mind. It can help you deal with stress, tension, anxiety, and anger. It involves focusing on taking slow, deep breaths. It is also called diaphragmatic breathing.

Deep breathing can be done anywhere. It helps in several ways:

  • It helps you to relax.
  • It takes your mind off what is bothering you. As you focus on your breathing, you will think less about other things. Any time you start having stressful thoughts, simply focus on your breathing again.
  • It helps with the physical symptoms of anxiety. When you feel anxious or stressed, you are likely to take shallow, fast breaths. This can result in dizziness, blurry vision, a feeling of pins and needles in your skin, and chest pain. Slow deep breathing can help to relieve such symptoms quickly.

How do I do this exercise?

  1. If possible, try to find a quiet place where you won’t be distracted. You may want to sit in a comfortable chair or lie on the floor with a pillow under the small of your back.
  2. Breathe in slowly and deeply, pushing your stomach out as you breathe in.
  3. Exhale slowly, letting your stomach sink in. Say the word “relax” silently as you exhale. Picture the stress and tension leaving your body as you breathe out.

Repeat these deep breaths 10 times. Notice how much more relaxed you feel after a few minutes of controlled breathing.

Practice this exercise 5 times a day.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-01-27
Last reviewed: 2014-01-27
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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