The Benefits of Breathing Exercises to Reduce Stress
Unhealthy stress can wreak havoc on your body and mind. One effective way to
help manage stress levels is through breath work, especially through a
breathing exercise known as the relaxing breath. This exercise is simple,
takes almost no time, requires no special equipment, and can be done
anywhere. Start by sitting with your back straight. Place the tip of your
tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and
keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your
mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of
Hold your breath for a count of seven.
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of
This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times
for a total of four breaths.
Note that you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly
through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time.
Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. The absolute time you spend on
each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have
trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of
4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice you can slow it all down and begin
inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.