Breathing exercises are a good way to relieve stress and build resiliency. There are lots of breathing exercises you can do to help relax. Belly Breathing is one of the easiest to learn, and you don’t need any special equipment. You can do it whenever you want, but I don’t recommend doing it while driving.
- Sit, stand, or lie flat in a comfortable position.
- Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs.
- Close your eyes.
- Slowly inhale through your nose, counting to 8 in your mind. Let your belly push your hand out as if you were filling up a balloon in your stomach.
- Let the air out from your mouth, counting to 8 in your mind as it leaves your lungs. Feel the hand on your belly go in, and use it to push all the air out as if you were deflating a balloon in your stomach.
- Repeat the breathing pattern 3 – 12 times, or as long as you’d like.
Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise. Why? It gives your body oxygen and slows your heart rate.
If you had troubles breathing in and out for the counts of 8, try a shorter count of 6 or 4. Gradually increase your counts to 8 (or more). Not being able to count up to 8 seconds may mean you need to spend more time focusing on your breath, and strengthening your ability to slow down and control your breathing.
When do you find time to stop and belly breathe?