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9 Easy, Helpful Breathing Techniques to Try when you Feel Stressed

Try these 9 easy, helpful breathing techniques to help you when you feel stressed or anxious. Breathing techniques provide a simple and effective way to manage stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues. When we experience stress or anxiety, our breathing can become shallow and rapid, which can exacerbate feelings of tension and overwhelm us. By using breathing techniques, we can slow down our breathing and regulate our nervous system, which can help us feel more relaxed and centered.

Breathing techniques are also accessible and easy to use, which makes them a convenient tool for managing mental health on-the-go. While these techniques don’t aim to eliminate the emotions we’re feeling, they can help decrease the intensity and help us deal with the emotions in a healthy way. Try incorporating some of these techniques into your daily routine to help promote better mental health and improve your overall sense of well-being.

  1. Deep breathing: This technique involves taking slow, deep breaths from your diaphragm. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this process for several minutes until you feel more relaxed. Here’s a 15-minute deep breathing exercise video you can use.
  2. Equal breathing: In this technique, you inhale and exhale for an equal amount of time. For example, you might inhale for a count of four, and exhale for a count of four. This technique can help promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. Check out this video to try this method.
  3. Square breathing: Similar to the equal breathing technique, this involves breathing in and out and holding/pausing for equal counts. Begin by slowly exhaling all of your air out. Then, gently inhale through your nose to a slow count of 4. Hold at the top of the breath for a count of 4. Then gently exhale through your mouth for a count of 4. At the bottom of the breath, pause and hold for the count of 4. Try this technique using this helpful video.
  4. 4-7-8 breathing: This technique involves inhaling for a count of four, holding your breath for a count of seven, and exhaling for a count of eight. Repeat this process for several cycles until you feel more relaxed. Use this video to practice using this method.
  5. Alternate nostril breathing: Thi​​s technique involves using your fingers to alternately close each nostril while inhaling and exhaling. Start by closing your right nostril with your thumb and inhaling through your left nostril. Then, close your left nostril with your ring finger and exhale through your right nostril. Repeat this process, alternating nostrils with each breath. Learn more about this technique and try it out with this video.
  6. Belly breathing: This technique involves focusing on breathing deeply into your belly. Place your hand on your belly and inhale deeply, feeling your belly rise. Exhale slowly and feel your belly fall. This technique can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. Use this video to help you practice this technique.
  7. TIPP technique: While this exercise is not exclusively a breathing technique, it does involve paced and regulated breathing. This article can help you understand how to use this technique, which involves temperature regulation, intense exercise, paced breathing, and paired muscle relaxation. The goal is to bring down the intensity of your emotions so that you can use other coping skills to navigate your emotions. Check out this video to learn more and see how to do this technique.
  8. Lazy 8 breathing: This breathing method uses visualization to help with breathing. Using a picture of a sideways 8, trace your finger along the figure while you count 8 breathing in and 8 breathing out. By using the picture, it helps with slowing down your breathing and focusing on the movements of your body. This method is especially helpful for children! Watch this video to learn how to do this technique.
  9. Five finger breathing: Similar to the Lazy 8 technique, this method involves tracing your finger along as you breathe–only this time, trace your hand. Start at the bottom of your hand and breathe in as you trace up. Then, trace down the other side of your thumb while you breathe out. Continue this on each finger and repeat as necessary. This is another technique that can be helpful for kids to use. Try it out with this helpful video. 

Remember, breathing techniques are a helpful way to calm your mind and body in a moment of stress, anxiety or panic. Try experimenting with these different breathing techniques to see what works best for you.