Breathe – Simple Stress Relieving Tips

Breathing…not something we consciously think about most of the time. However, when we are stressed or anxious it is the first thing that is affected. Our breath becomes shallow and rapid. We are not getting enough oxygen. By simply taking a moment to focus on our breath we can change how we feel and how we cope with the situation we are in. So simply stop and breathe.

Simply breathe

Or breathe simply…all it takes is a moment to focus on our breath to change it and improve how we feel. So why not try it right now?

Breathe into belly
Belly breathing


Take a slow, deep breath. That’s better right? Do it again. Breathe in and slowly breathe out. Drop your shoulders away from your ears. Now, maybe put a hand on your belly and feel it rise and fall with your breathing. Notice the tension reducing and your body relaxing. Breathe in slowly, feeling your belly rise and breath out slowly noticing your belly fall. Take a few more breaths and notice if they get easier and deeper naturally.

Stress Reliever

Our breath is a simple stress reliever. One we can utilise no matter where we are or what situation we’re in. About to do an important presentation? Take some slow deep breaths. Just about to have an interview? Breathe! Stuck in a stressful meeting? Breathe! Running late and stuck in traffic? Utilise your time at the red lights by breathing deeply. You get the idea.

Our breath is so important but we take it for granted so much! It can change our physiology so easily if we just take a few moments to connect with it.

Simplest Meditation

Our breath can form the basis of the simplest meditations. Sit comfortably with your back straight and your feet on the floor (or on a cushion with your legs crossed). Take a few slow, conscious, deep breaths. Put your hand on your belly and feel your breath coming and going. Relax your hand again and just observe your breath. Notice each inhalation and each exhalation. Notice where you feel the sensations the most – it could be in your nostrils, your chest, your belly etc. Just observe and notice the different sensations of each breath. When your mind wanders as it naturally will, just gently bring it back to the breath. Notice whether your breathing has changed. Let go of any judgements that come up. Just be with your breath. Practice for 5 or 10 minutes initially and build up to a longer practice if you have time.

Remember to Breathe

Your breath is always there to help you connect to the present moment and to reduce your stress and anxiety levels. You just have to remember to connect to it…

If you’d like some help reducing your stress or anxiety, do get in touch.



Just Breathe

Many people report that when they are upset, worried, scared, anxious etc they hold their breath. This is not something we do consciously but we often become aware of it after a little while. What we are less aware of is when we do it without realising it. We very often breathe too shallowly anyway and again most people aren’t aware of doing it. So a good practice to take up is to do some deep breathing every day.

Pick something that you will remember easily such as checking your breathing every time you go to the bathroom or answer the phone. Then just spend a minute or two focusing on your breathing. Breathing in and out slowly and deeply through your nose. Whenever you notice your breathing throughout your day, choose to breathe slowly and deeply.

Make it a habit to check your breath regularly throughout your day. This is an easy way to reduce stress and anxiety and increase our energy levels.

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Simply Breathe to Relieve Stress

One of the first things that happens when we are stressed is that we start breathing very shallowly, only using the top of our lungs. We often don’t breathe deep enough in general and when we get stressed this becomes even worse. You can check how you are breathing by simply placing one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Either lay down, sit or stand comfortably as you do this. Notice whether your chest hand or your stomach hand is rising as you breathe normally. To breathe effectively your stomach area should rise more than your chest as your diaphragm expands.

To counter stress one of the simplest things you can do is to breathe! There are several different breathing exercises you can do and here is one of the simplest and most effective.

Firstly sit in a comfortable position and place your hands in your lap.  You will be breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth in this exercise.  Place the tip of your tongue on the soft tissue just behind your upper front teeth and keep it there during this exercise.

  • Breathe in slowly through your nose to the count of 4
  • Hold your breath for a count of 7
  • Slowly exhale through your mouth for a count of 8. When you exhale, make a soft “whoosh” sound
  • This is 1 round. Repeat again 3 times, making a total of 4 rounds

The important thing is the ratio of 4:7:8. The out breath is twice as long as the in breath.  You can make the breaths shorter, ensuring you stick to the ratio.  Ensure you only do 4 breaths each time you practice this exercise initially. With time you can increase it to 8 breaths.

4-7-8 Breathing Exercise

This exercise has a natural calming and tranquilizing effect on the body. Use it whenever you feel stressed, feel tension in your body, before you react to a situation and in bed to help you go to sleep. It is a quick and effective exercise to do and can be done anywhere.

“Practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.”
Andrew Weil, M.D

Repeat this exercise at least twice a day and whenever you feel you need it.

Let me know how this exercise helps you.
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