Breathing Exercises for Stress Management

Written by Vanessa Barajas, Program Coordinator at Work2Live

Paying attention to how we breathe is something that is easy to overlook, considering it’s completely automatic. However, our breath is a powerful thing! Becoming aware of it and incorporating breathing exercises into our daily routine has many benefits, including managing stress, increasing focus, and enhancing performance. Deep breathing is a good way to relax from a busy day too.

When you breathe in deeply, blood cells receive more oxygen and release more carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a waste product that's carried back through your body and exhaled. Most adults breathe from the chest, which is known as shallow breathing. Shallow breathing can upset the oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange and contribute to anxiety, panic attacks, fatigue, and other physical and emotional disturbances. Let’s take a look at the various breathing exercises you can try today.

If at any point you feel discomfort (lightheaded, dizzy, shortness of breath, etc.) during any of the breathing exercises, please stop doing the exercise immediately. Talk with your doctor before starting the exercises if you have a medical condition such as asthma, COPD, or any other lung or heart concern.

4-7-8 Breathing

This exercise acts as a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. At first, it's best to perform the exercise seated with your back straight. Once you become more familiar with this breathing exercise, however, you can perform it while lying in bed.

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