Have you ever felt stressed and had no idea how to calm down? Perhaps you distracted yourself or found unhealthy ways to take the stress away to only feel stressed soon afterward.

Small rocks stacked on each other in a balancing act. Photo by Colton Sturgeon on Unsplash

Practicing mindful breathing can be an effective and healthy way to relax and center yourself.

Why Practice Mindful Breathing?

Mindful breathing reduces anxiety by bringing awareness to your breathing instead of focusing on stressful thoughts and other distractions.

This type of breathing can be done for as little as a minute or as long as you need to feel calm.

Neon light of word, 'breathe' against a background of shrubbery. Photo by Tim Goedhart on Unsplash

Simple Ways To Practice Anywhere

You can practice mindful breathing in any situation and wherever you are. This type of breathing is generally done by breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth.

  • Breath more deeply

    Instead of taking the usual short and shallow breaths, breathe in slowly until you feel that your lungs are completely full.

  • In and out

    As you breathe in, say to yourself, "in." As you breathe out, say to yourself, "out."

  • Count your breaths

    With each breath in, say to yourself the breath number you're on. See how high you can go. When you lose track of which number you're on, start from one again. Don't count how long you're holding your breath.

Quiz

Sherly is meeting some friends she doesn't know very well. She starts to feel anxious about about the outing. What can she do to decrease her anxiety? Select all that apply.

Set the scence

Turn your mindful breathing into an enjoyable event by changing the environment.

  • Turn off the lights and phone

    Reducing your sensory input will help you focus on the moment.

  • Listen to calm music

    Listening to rain sounds or other relaxing music can help to deepen your practice and create a calm atmosphere.

  • Invite a few friends

    A mindful breathing practice doesn't have to be done alone. Creating a small community can help you on your journey.

Quiz

Robert is trying to start a breathing practice but can't find time. When can he do this? Select all that apply.

Take Action

Starting any new habit can be challenging but daily practice will ensure that you're able to use mindful breathing when you feel particularly stressed or overwhelmed.

By practicing mindful breathing, you not only slow your breathing but also release built-up stress you might not have known was there.

Scrabble pieces showing, 'Inhale, Exhale, Repeat.' Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

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