3 Breathing Exercises to Relieve stress and Calm the Mind

In today’s world where the pace of life can get intense and ‘breaking news’ is often heartbreaking, stress is a real factor affecting the health of so many people. This makes wellness and serenity extra essential.

We all experience hardships, seasons of struggles, and by grace, overcome challenges. Now, more than ever people are getting proactive about wellness and gratitude, understanding that a) each day is a gift b) we have a tendency to take things and people for granted and c) living thankful on purpose directly leads to a refreshed attitude, as well as a healthier mind and body.

Breath-work is a core part of my vocal coaching sessions, and it assists clients who experience anxious moments in general and also with overcoming stage-fright. Today’s post shares 3 breathing exercises that relieve stress and calm the mind.

Remember, the thoughts we allow and feed have a huge impact on our mental state and happiness level, so let’s make a point to raise the volume on positive thoughts of truth, while lowering the volume on unhealthy thoughts. As you inhale, declare:

I am loved” (or another affirmation of truth that resonates with you.) As you exhale, let go of any negative thoughts or to-do notes that may rise to the surface. Without assigning an emotion or any energy to them, focus on the amazing gift of breath.

Deep breathing helps to regulate your heart rate and quiet the mind. Pick one of these exercises to follow along with as you read, and share in the comments how it helped your state of mind, posture, and breathing tempo.

Diaphragmatic breaths

{standing exercise)

1. Inhale – stomach expands (in preparation to give you the air)

Exhale – stomach contracts as you are given and use air

Place one hand on your lower abdomen. Breathing from the diaphragm is the opposite of how many breathe during their waking hours. Instead of shallow breathing from the chest, where the tummy goes in when you inhale, it’s your tummy that expands when you breathe in, and contracts as you release.

Here’s how I learned to do this, and it works instantly for every client even if only on the exhale at first:

Hum any note of your choice, as loud (within reason) as you can for as long as you can.

Do different combos 3 times each:

in through nose, out through mouth

in through mouth and out through nose

in through nose, out through nose

2. {standing} Touch a rib on each of your sides, with fingertips (at each side of your ribcage.) Think ‘freestyle’ swimming technique or slightly-cupped hands, in terms of how you place your fingers.

Breathe in slowly (mouth open) – feel ribs expand

Breathe out slowly (mouth open) – feel ribs go in

Get to know the pace, place, and position of your breathing: the rhythm, where you’re breathing from, your posture and monitor how you breathe at intervals throughout the day.

3. De-pressurizing breaths

{sitting: set shoulders at neutral.}

Inhale slowly (through the nose) – now make a “tttssssssssssss” sound like air leaving a teeny space in a car tyre – 3 times, stretching the duration each time.

Tip: For the first breath, focus on the steps in the exercise. Set your posture to “aligned.” For the second round, think of a potential stress-point (for a brief moment) as you breathe in, and as you exhale, release any heaviness leaving your mind and body. On the third breath, take in LOVE, and breathe out thankfulness.

Which exercise did you do, and what was your experience? Feel free to share.

Have a light rest of the day!

“3 breathing exercises to relieve stress and calm the mind.”

The info and tips shared here are not intended to give or replace medical advice or treat medical conditions. They are based solely on years of professional vocal work, coaching in this area, and endurance in intense situations. This post on ‘breathing exercises to relieve stress and calm the mind’ is designed as encouragement around lighter living for enterprising women who seek refreshment along the way.

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