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5 Breathing Techniques To Manage Stress

woman punching air

Stress is part of our lives, certain events and situations can trigger internal panic and can alarm our body.

Stress signs include rapid inhalation, high blood pressure and increased heart rates.

Breathing exercises can help you to restore peace and allow you to practise mindfulness.

Deep breathing is the best way to lower your stress levels as the process sends messages to your brain to calm down and re-centre.

There are many breathing techniques that will help you relax, numerous taught in education environments to help students prepare for exams and stressful situations.

Therefore, we’ve enlisted the help of Richard Evans, education expert at The Profs to share 5 tried and tested breathing techniques that help manage stress.

1) Lion’s breath

This technique stretches the muscles in your face and relieves any tension. It’s a fun way to ease the mind through energetic breathing.

  • Position yourself into a comfortable seated position to begin
  • Press your palms against your knees and spread your fingers wide
  • Inhale deeply through your nose and open your eyes wide. During this time open your mouth wide and bring the tip of your tongue towards your chin.
  • As you exhale out, make a long ‘ha’ sound
  • Repeat this 2-3 times

 2) Equal breathing

This style of breathing is great for restoring focus and calming your nervous systems. The equal aspect helps you to create rhythm and harmony which brings your mind to the present moment.

  • Position yourself into a comfortable seated position to begin
  • Breathe in and out through your nose. During inhalation and exhalation, count to make sure your breaths are equal in duration.
  • Continue this for at least 5 minutes

 3) 4-7-6 breath

This common technique helps to instantly relieve stress. It was developed to reduce any signs of nervousness, stress and even help you to get a good night’s sleep.

  • For best results, sit or stand with a straight back to allow your lungs to expand.
  • With your mouth closed, press your tongue gently on the roof of your mouth, breathe in slowly through your nose for 4 seconds.
  • Hold your breath for 7 seconds
  • Audibly exhale ‘woosh’ for 8 seconds, keeping your tongue pressed in the roof of your mouth.
  • Repeat for 4 full cycles 

4) Box Breathing

This technique can be done at any time during the day or night. The short yet concise breathing helps to take your mind away from distracting thoughts.

  • Sit upright in a comfortable position
  • Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold in for 4 and breathe out for 4
  • Repeat this for 4 minutes or until you feel calm

 5) Alternate nostril breathing

This technique is common in reducing high levels of anxiety and stress. It’s a common part of yoga and allows your brain to reach a state of relaxation.

  • Sit in a comfortable position either on the floor or chair. Ensure you’ve breathed out fully before beginning.
  • Close the right nostril with the thumb of one hand and breathe in through the left nostril.
  • Close the left nostril with the fourth finger and release the thumb
  • Breath out and in through the right nostril
  • Close the right nostril with thumb and release the fourth finger before breathing out through the left nostril.