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Use your breath to relax and relieve stress

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

I’ve been using this easy technique for years to help me calm down, focus, and get through sudden bursts of pain. And the beauty of this is, you don't need any fancy equipment or lots of time for this to work. All you need is your breath.

Here are some times when I've used my breath to help me calm down:

  • When I take in the view on a ridgeline and then imagine myself falling to my death.

  • That time I sprained my ankle and fell to the ground in pain and surprise.

  • When I get really upset and don’t want to blow up on someone. (It happens more than you might think.)

How did I use my breath to calm down?

You can follow along with this YouTube video or continue reading about it below.

Practice the Long Exhale to relax

1. Notice your breath for a couple breaths.

2. Take a deep breath in.

3. Take a long breath out. Make it longer than your inhale.

4. Repeat as many times as you'd like.

5. Return to normal breathing and notice how you feel.

How long should you exhale?

You can play with counting how long you inhale and exhale and see if you can make your exhales twice as long as your inhales. If you don't get to twice as long, that's ok.

The key is to lengthen your exhale.

See what doing an exhale 1 or 2 counts longer than your inhale does.

If you have the lung capacity that day, see what happens if you exhale for longer than twice your inhale does.

Something to note: If counting your breaths stresses you out or puts extra pressure on you, let it go. Focus on creating a longer exhale, no matter how long.

Share in the comments when you would use this technique.


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