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  • Writer's pictureMoe | Scarlet Plus

A 30-second breathing exercise can quickly Calm your nerves.


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Ever noticed how, in those moments when the world seems to spin a bit too fast, you suddenly become hyper-aware of every breath you inhale and exhale? Normally, breathing is something we do on autopilot—it’s as natural as blinking. But throw a curveball of stress, anxiety, or fear into the mix, and your breath might start feeling like it’s following a beat of its own.


 That’s where MindBodyPinnacle’s simple deep breathing techniques come into play. Think of these strategies as your personal toolkit for tranquility. They’re not just about catching your breath; they’re about transforming it into a powerful ally that reduces stress and hones your focus. So, the next time life turns up the pressure, remember: a deep, mindful breath could be your secret passageway to calm and clarity.


Let MindBodyPinnacle guide you to that serene spot, one breath at a time.


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Breathing Exercise


Diving into the world of breath work is like unlocking a hidden superpower we all have but often overlook. It's about tapping into deep, belly breathing—or diaphragmatic breathing—to spark a wave of relaxation through your body. And guess what? Science is on board with this! A piece of research highlighted in Scientific Reports back in January 2023 threw a spotlight on how this kind of breathing gymnastics can be a real game-changer for tackling stress, and even bigger foes like depression and anxiety.



Here are five quick, 30-second breathing exercises that pair perfectly with the ups and downs of daily life, plus some pro tips to get you off to a flying start.


1. Sharpen Your Focus with Box Breathing


Ever heard of box breathing? Also known as the four-square technique, it's the perfect starting point for beginners. It's a real lifesaver if your thoughts are doing somersaults when you're trying to nail something at work or dive deep into a study session. Here’s how to master box breathing, as suggested by Ingram:


  • First things first, find a cozy spot to sit where you can keep your back straight and plant your feet firmly on the ground.


  • Gently close your eyes, and draw a slow, deep breath in through your nose, counting to four. Make sure to fill your lungs up all the way.


  • Hold that breath for another count of four, but keep it easy—no jaw clenching or muscle tensing.

  • Now, let that breath out through your mouth slowly, counting to four again, and push all the air out.

  • Hold your breath out for a final count of four.

  • Loop through steps 2 to 5 a few times, focusing solely on the rhythm, sound, and sensation of your breath. If counting to four feels like a stretch, dial it back to two or three and gradually level up as you get more comfortable.



 

2. Chasing Serenity? Give the 4-7-8 Technique a Whirl


Feeling like your brain's still buzzing after a marathon day? The 4-7-8 breathing trick might just be the off switch you're looking for. Often referred to as the 'relaxing breath,' it's a straightforward yet mighty tool in your calm-seeking arsenal. This method is all about filling your lungs and then pausing—a pause that gives your insides a nice little oxygen party, rejuvenating organs and muscles and keeping them singing in harmony.


Eager to try? Landry lays down the steps to get you into the 4-7-8 groove:


  • Get comfy, either sitting or lying down, ensuring your back's straight and your shoulders are dropped away from any tension.


  • Shut your eyes, and let a few regular breaths flow in and out, helping you find your chill.


  • Breathe in silently through your nose, counting to four, letting your chest and belly rise as you fill up.


  • Hold that breath. Count to seven. It's like a mini-vacation for your breath.


  • Now, let it out slowly, making a whoosh sound through your mouth, all the way to the count of eight.


  • Keep this rhythm going for about four cycles, or just until you feel a wave of relaxation wash over you.


Finding the numbers a stretch? No worries. Scale it down to a 2-4-5 or a 3-5-6 rhythm and work your way up as you get more comfy with the technique.

 

3. Boost Your Confidence with Lion’s Breath


Picture this: you're gearing up for a major moment—maybe it's a presentation that's got your nerves on edge, or perhaps an interview for a dream job. Here's a secret weapon for those times: lion’s breath. It's not just any breathing trick; it's your go-to for channeling inner strength when you're feeling anything but powerful.


Here’s how to unleash your inner lion:


  • Settle into a comfy seat, keeping your posture proud and upright.


  • Draw a deep breath in through the nose, filling your lungs with courage.


  • Then, let it out with a hearty "ha" sound through an open mouth, tongue out and all. Picture roaring like a lion, adding a growl for that extra fierce vibe.


  • This isn't just about making noise; it's a fantastic way to shake off facial and jaw tension, slice through the stress, and pump up your energy levels. Perfect for those moments when you need to stop taking everything so seriously and give yourself a pep talk.

 

4. Find Your Balance with Alternate Nostril Breathing


Ever heard of Nadi Shodhana? It's a fancy Sanskrit term for alternate nostril breathing, and it's all about restoring equilibrium. Imagine it as a direct line to balancing your internal systems—the calm, restorative parasympathetic nervous system, and the energizing sympathetic nervous system, primed for action.

Here's the lowdown:


  • With your right hand, fold down your index and middle fingers, letting them rest against your palm. Now, your thumb and ring finger are ready for action.


  • Gently press your thumb against the right side of your nose, just below the bridge. Make sure your arm isn't squishing your chest; you need room to breathe.


  • Take a deep breath in, then close off the right nostril with your thumb and let the breath out slowly through the left, counting to four. Keep it closed as you inhale for another count of four. Repeat this a few times, then switch nostrils.


  • Now, use your ring finger to press against the left nostril. Breathe in and out through the right nostril, maintaining the four-count rhythm. After a few cycles, let your breathing return to normal.


  • If you're new to this, feel free to stick with the initial steps for a bit before diving deeper. This technique isn't just about breathing; it's a pathway to internal harmony, clearing the fog, and bringing your best self into the spotlight.

 

5. When You're Craving Instant Stress Relief, Go for the Falling-Out Breath


Ever felt like you just need to let it all go with a big, hefty sigh? That's where the falling-out breath comes into its own. This straightforward technique is all about unlocking the power of a deep, hearty exhale to melt away tension and stress. Picture it as embracing a series of liberating sighs, where each exhale is a signal to your body that it's time to unwind and tap into that peaceful, "rest and digest" mode.

Here’s how Landry breaks it down for diving into the falling-out breath:


  • Get comfy standing or sitting, keeping your feet about shoulder-width apart and your knees gently bent.


  • Rest your hands on your thighs or in your lap.


  • Breathe in deeply through your nose, aiming to fill your lungs to the brim.


  • Then, open your mouth and let out a slow, powerful exhale, channeling a lengthy "haa" sound as you let every bit of air out.


  • Relax into the moment and repeat this process a few times.


It's like hitting the reset button on your stress levels, inviting calmness in with every breath out.


 

Benefits of Breathing Exercises


Many of the breathing exercises above have benefits that have been extensively researched. The science behind why they work revolves around the vagus nerve, which is a part of your brain that is activated when you breathe deeply. The vagus nerve oversees your mood, digestion and heart rate. Tailored breathing exercises like these stimulate your vagus nerve, helping us respond better to stress and anxiety.


When you practise a breathing exercise, you’ll benefit from:


  • A more relaxed body


  • A lowered heart rate


  • Distraction from anxiety


  • Lowered blood pressure


  • Stress reduction


  • Slower breathing for better energy conservation

 

Relaxation techniques


Relaxation techniques are a great way to help with stress management. Relaxation isn't only about peace of mind or enjoying a hobby. It's a process that decreases the stress effects on your mind and body. Relaxation techniques can help you cope with everyday stress. And these techniques can help with long-term stress or stress related to various health problems, such as heart disease and pain.


Whether your stress is spiraling out of control or you've already got it tamed, you can benefit from learning relaxation techniques. Learning basic relaxation techniques is easy. Relaxation techniques are often free or low cost, pose little risk, and can be done nearly anywhere.


Explore simple relaxation techniques and get started on de-stressing your life and improving your health and overall well-being.


Types of relaxation techniques include:


  • Autogenic relaxation. 

  • Autogenic means something that comes from within you. In this relaxation technique, you use both visual imagery and body awareness to reduce stress.


  • Progressive muscle relaxation. 

  • In this relaxation technique, you focus on slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle group.


  • Visualization. 

  • In this relaxation technique, you may form mental images to take a visual journey to a peaceful, calming place or situation.


 

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