7 Powerful Breathing Exercises for Stress Relief and Better Health

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Breathing exercises are more than just taking in air. They’re a gateway to a calmer mind, healthier body, and deeper sense of well-being. Learn how to harness the power of your breath with these simple techniques.

Breathing is something we do automatically, but did you know that conscious breathing exercises can have incredible benefits for your mind and body?

These simple practices, sometimes called exercises of breathing, can help reduce stress, improve focus, boost energy, and even help you sleep better. Let’s dive into seven easy breathing exercises you can start practicing today.

The Science Behind Breathing Exercises

While it might seem like just breathing, the exercise of breathing has a real impact on your nervous system. Deep, controlled breaths stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation.

This counteracts the stress response, lowering heart rate and blood pressure.

7 Breathing Exercises to Try

1. Diaphragmatic Breathing (Belly Breathing):

How-to: Lie down or sit comfortably. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Breathe in slowly through your nose, letting your belly expand while your chest stays relatively still. Exhale slowly through your mouth.

Benefits: Reduces stress, improves digestion, strengthens the diaphragm.

Reference: https://www.healthline.com/health/diaphragmatic-breathing

Diaphragmatic Breathing (Belly Breathing) Credit: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital @nyphospital

2. Box Breathing (Four-Square Breathing):

How-to: Inhale for a count of four, hold for four, exhale for four, hold for four. Repeat.

Benefits: Calms the mind, improves focus, reduces anxiety.

Reference: https://www.healthline.com/health/box-breathing

Box breathing relaxation technique: how to calm feelings of stress or anxiety Credit: Sunnybrook Hospital

3. 4-7-8 Breathing (Relaxing Breath):

How-to: Inhale for four counts, hold for seven, exhale for eight. Repeat.

Benefits: Promotes sleep, reduces anxiety, eases tension.

Reference: https://www.healthline.com/health/4-7-8-breathing

4-7-8 Calm Breathing Exercise | Relaxing Breath Technique | Extended Breaths | Pranayama Exercise Credit: Hands-On Meditation

4. Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana):

How-to: Use your right thumb to close your right nostril, inhale through the left. Close the left, release the right, exhale through the right. Inhale through the right, close it, release the left, exhale through the left. This is one cycle.

Benefits: Balances the nervous system, clears energy channels, improves focus.

Reference: https://www.healthline.com/health/alternate-nostril-breathing

Yoga Breathing | Alternate Nostril Breathing Credit: Yoga With Adriene

5. Equal Breathing (Sama Vritti):

How-to: Inhale and exhale for the same count (e.g., inhale for four, exhale for four).

Benefits: Promotes calmness, improves focus, reduces stress.

5 Minute Equal Breathing Technique // Sama Vritti Pranayama Credit: Antara Yoga

6. Lion’s Breath (Simhasana):

How-to: Inhale deeply through your nose. Open your mouth wide, stick out your tongue, and exhale forcefully with a “ha” sound.

Benefits: Relieves tension in the face and jaw, energizes, boosts mood.

Lion’s Breath – Foundations of Yoga Credit: Yoga With Adriene

7. Humming Bee Breath (Bhramari Pranayama):

How-to: Close your eyes, place your index fingers on your ears. Take a deep breath in, then slowly exhale while making a humming sound similar to a bee.

Benefits: Reduces anxiety, lowers blood pressure, promotes relaxation.

Learn the Humming Bee Breath Technique – Bhramari Pranayama | Yoga Credit: SIKANA English


Q: How often should I practice breathing exercises?

A: Even a few minutes a day can be beneficial. Aim for 5-10 minutes daily, or whenever you feel stressed.

Q: Can these exercises replace medication?

A: No, these exercises are not a substitute for medical treatment. If you have any health concerns, consult your doctor.

Q: Are there any risks associated with these exercises?

A: Most these exercises are safe, but stop if you feel dizzy or lightheaded.

Q: Can breathing exercises help with anxiety?

A: Yes, many studies show that deep these exercises can activate the relaxation response and reduce anxiety symptoms.

Q: Is it normal to feel lightheaded during breathing exercises?

A: Slight lightheadedness can sometimes occur, especially if you’re new to the practice. If it persists, stop and consult a doctor.

Q: Can children benefit from breathing exercises?

A: Absolutely! These exercises can help children manage stress, improve focus, and develop healthy coping mechanisms.


Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts.

Thich Nhat Hanh


Incorporating simple exercises of breathing into your daily routine can significantly impact your well-being. Whether you’re seeking stress relief, improved focus, or better sleep, these techniques can be a powerful tool in your health arsenal.

7 Powerful Breathing Exercises for Stress Relief and Better Health

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Consult a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise routine.

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