Simple Deep Breathing Exercises To Relieve Stress

Simple Deep Breathing Exercises To Relieve Stress

Simple Deep Breathing Exercises To Relieve Stress


When we are stressed, we likely take shallow breaths with a rapid breathing rate. Deep breathing focuses on deep slow breathing to relieve stress, promote relaxation, overcome anxiety and depression.

Deep breathing benefits:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Improve the metabolism
  • Improve the circulatory system
  • Improve the brain and nervous system
  • Calm the mind
  • Increase energy levels
  • Improve endurance especially in swimming

How to practice Deep Breathing

  1. Lie down or sit comfortably in a quiet place, close your eyes and relax your abdomen.
  2. Imagine that there is a deflated balloon in your abdomen.
  3. Stay relaxed through the whole exercise, keeping your shoulders down and relaxed.
  4. Breathe in slowly through your nostrils to the count of 4, visualise the balloon filling and pushing your abdomen out.
  5. Hold your breath for a count of 6, keeping the balloon full but stay relaxed.
  6. Slowly to a count of 8, breathe through your nose. Allow your shoulders to relax and drop as you breathe out. See if you can let a little more air out of the balloon and then repeat the cycle 4 more times or continue for 10 – 15 minutes.


  • If you have problems visualising the balloon, just use the counting but keep your abdomen relaxed. As your practice everyday, it will be easier to slow down.
  • When you first practice deep breathing, start with 4:6:8 (breathe in, hold your breath, breathe out) and slowly increase it to 8:12:16 and 12:18:24 if you can.
  • Once you have practised deep breathing a few times, you can use it when you are feeling stressed, anxious or depressed.



Photo credit:

Phelps K, The Cancer Recovery Guide, Macmillan, Australia, pp89-90

Purchon N, 1998, Handbook of natural healing, National Library of Australia, St Leonards, NSW, Australia, pp79-80



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