Stay Calm and Relaxed: 4 Breathing Exercises to Try

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In today's fast-paced world, stress and anxiety have become common experiences for many people. Anxiety can manifest in various ways, from physical symptoms such as a racing heart, sweaty palms, and shallow breathing to mental symptoms such as constant worry, restlessness, and difficulty concentrating.

That said, while there are many ways to combat anxiety, one simple and effective method is practising breathing exercises. By controlling our breath, we can help regulate our nervous system, calm our minds, and find a sense of balance amidst the chaos of daily life.

1. Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing, is a fundamental technique that encourages deep, slow breaths. This method helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety.

  1. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
  2. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly.
  3. Slowly inhale through your nose, allowing your belly to rise as you fill your lungs with air. Your chest should remain relatively still.
  4. Exhale slowly through your mouth, feeling your belly fall.
  5. Continue this slow, deep breathing for 5 to 10 minutes.

2. 4-7-8 Breathing Technique

The 4-7-8 breathing technique is a simple yet powerful method that can help calm the mind and reduce anxiety. This exercise involves inhaling for a count of 4, holding the breath for a count of 7, and exhaling for a count of 8.

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight.
  2. Close your eyes and take a deep breath through your nose for a count of 4.
  3. Hold your breath for a count of 7.
  4. Exhale slowly and completely through your mouth for a count of 8.
  5. Repeat this cycle for four full breaths, gradually increasing the number of cycles as you become more comfortable with the technique.

3. Alternate Nostril Breathing

Alternate nostril breathing, or Nadi Shodhana, is a yogic breathing technique that helps balance the left and right sides of the brain, promoting mental clarity and relaxation.

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight.
  2. Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through your left nostril.
  3. Close your left nostril with your right ring finger and exhale through your right nostril.
  4. Inhale through your right nostril, then close it and exhale through your left nostril.
  5. Continue this alternating pattern for several minutes, finishing with an exhale through your left nostril.

4. Box Breathing

Finally, box breathing, also known as square breathing, is a simple technique that helps regulate the breath and calm the mind. This exercise involves inhaling, holding the breath, exhaling, and holding the breath again, all for equal counts.

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight, and your eyes closed.
  2. Inhale through your nose for a count of 4.
  3. Hold your breath for a count of 4.
  4. Exhale through your mouth for a count of 4.
  5. Hold your breath for a count of 4.
  6. Repeat this cycle for several minutes, gradually increasing the count if desired.


Practising these simple breathing techniques can help to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve overall mental and physical well-being. Of course, there are many other breathing techniques out there, but these are some of the best techniques that you can easily employ to help you clear your mind and release your anxiety when you find yourself under pressure.

Elated You offers life-changing breathwork and coaching services to help you overcome anxiety, build confidence, and achieve more in life. If you are looking for transformational breathwork training in Australia, book a free discovery call with us today!

Sarah looking at the camera

Written by

Sarah Michaels

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