Anti-Stress Hacks: How to Reduce Stress By Using Your Breath

Using your breath is hands down one of the simplest and easiest ways to reduce stress and calm down. You probably already know at least some of these techniques, but I bet you’re not using them nearly as much as you could be.

Why not? Because when we get stressed, we get so focused on our problems that we mysteriously forget all the amazing tools we have to calm ourselves down and instead we think ourselves into a meltdown. That’s why getting into the habit  of using anti-stress hacks like these breathing exercises is so powerful: once it’s a habit, it becomes automatic to release stress as soon as it starts to build. Doesn’t that sound like a habit worth cultivating?

Why are breathing techniques so good at relieving stress?

Breathing is kind of an interesting thing, physiologically. Most of our physiological processes are either under our conscious control, like moving our limbs, or not under our conscious control, like our heart beat.

Even just taking a few deep, slow breaths can calm your body’s stress response.

Breathing is a mix: you’ll keep breathing whether you’re awake, asleep, or knocked out cold. But we can change the way we breath any time we want, without much effort or training.

This makes breathing an easy way to communicate with our bodies. You can think of it as an interface between the mind and the body. We can send signals to our bodies by changing the way we breathe, and the body will respond. For example, by slowing the breath, we show the body that there is no immediate danger that we need to run from or fight. The body then responds by slowing down the flood of stress hormones, with the end result that you feel calmer.

The other thing that makes breathing techniques so excellent is that you carry everything you need for them with at all times. You’re not going to leave the house without your lungs and diaphragm – or if you do, you won’t get far. Add in the fact that breathing techniques can start to work within seconds, and you have the perfect tool for dealing with unexpected stresses and intense situations.

What are the best breathing techniques for stress relief?

There are probably endless ways that you can hack your body using your breath, but I’ve selected my 3 favourite ones for stress relief, choosing the ones that are easiest to do and most effective. These techniques are great to use during a stressful situation or conflict, because they are quick and easy to do and can rapidly change how we feel.

In this video, I show you exactly how to do each one. Try them out with me and see how you feel!

3 Simple Breathing Techniques for Stress Relief

Once you’ve watched the video, use these instructions to remember exactly how to do each one. Then – and here’s the tricky part – remember to do them next time you’re stressed!

Slow breaths: Consciously slow your breathing down, without going so slow that you feel uncomfortable. If you were having to run from danger, you wouldn’t have the luxury of breathing slowly, so this is a direct way to show your body that you are safe. Take ten slow breaths and see if you feel calmer.

Fill your lungs: Through a cool biochemistry trick, fully expanding your lungs makes your nervous system switch from sympathetic (flight or flight) mode into parasympathetic mode (rest and digest) mode. Take deep, slow breaths, breathing all the way in to expand your lungs, then gently exhale.

Longer exhales than inhales: Gently lengthen your exhales, making them just one or two counts longer than your inhales. For example, do a 4 count in-breath and a 5 count out-breath. Remember to keep it at a comfortable rate – if it feels like a strain then just breath more normally.

Living a Low-Stress Lifestyle

Anti-stress hacks are some of my favourite ways to reduce stress in the moment, and can really help you keep a clear head when the going gets rough. But, as the saying goings, prevention is better than cure, so if stress is an issue for you, get my free 7 day challenge to reduce your stress levels and boost your energy!

Wishing you a stress-free day,

Your health ally,

Moss

 

Moss
Moss Andrewes is an acupuncturist and practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, specializing in women’s health and chronic illness. Originally from the UK and now residing in Canada, she is a writer, speaker, and event organizer, focusing on health, sustainable living and community. Her lifelong passion for making the world a happier, healthier place has led her through many adventures, including off-grid sustainable living, disaster relief, and various community health projects. She currently lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with her partner and two cats.

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