Stress. We all experience it. Difficult conversations, hectic days with to-do lists that grow faster than they shrink. Our breathing responds to stress by getting shallower and faster, but the opposite is also true… we can manage our stress levels with our breathing.
Take a moment to de-stress with controlled breathing: you’ll notice results in a minute or two. This particular breathing technique is called relaxation breathing or 4-4-7 breathing:
- Sit upright towards the front of your chair with your feet on floor and your hands on your knees.
- Close your eyes.
- Inhale slowly through the nose for about 4 seconds. Try counting backwards from 4 to 1 while you do it (this keeps the mind occupied, providing a break from active or intrusive thinking).
- Hold for about 4 seconds.
- Exhale through either the nose or mouth for 7 to 8 seconds. Try counting backwards from 7 or 8 while you do it.
Repeat for as long as needed and whenever needed throughout the day.