3 Deep Breathing Exercises to Reduce Stress & Anxiety

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Though we often take its presence for granted, the breath is a powerful tool we can use to enhance the wellbeing of both body and mind. This video is an introduction to three deep breathing techniques that can be used to calm the mind and ease both stress and anxiety. The three breathing techniques for anxiety explored here are:

1. Pursed Lip Breathing
2. Equal Breathing
3. Alternate Nostril Breathing

The Benefits of Deep Breathing Exercises

Due to the stress that many of us carry around through this busy modern day life, it is not uncommon for us to breathe shallowly. Shallow breathing (or chest breathing) draws minimal air into the lungs and is associated with increased or chronic stress and anxiety. Deep breathing (or diaphragmatic breathing) offers relief to this experience.

As we mindfully begin to breathe deeper, whether through simple belly breathing practice, pursed lip breathing, or alternate nostril breathing, the body’s stress response softens and the relaxation response kicks in. As stress hormones lessen, our body comes back into homeostasis. Because while the stress response is important when we face imminent danger, it detracts from our sense of peace and wellbeing when the threat exists only in the mind.

How to Breathe Deep

Knowing the benefits of deep breathing exercises does little for us if we are unsure of how to practice. This video outlines three simple techniques we might explore – or, we might turn to the ‘Soft Belly’ practice to enhance the flow of air through the lungs. In any case, turning our attention towards the felt experience of the body can help us to practice this. Choose the technique that works best for you.

In addition to these breathing techniques for anxiety, a variety of complementary mindfulness exercises can help to ease the stress and tension we carry around. As mindfulness helps to reduce the body’s stress response, any action we take to breathe, move, and live more mindfully will help us to experience a greater sense of peace and ease.

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