Deep breathing is a simple exercise that involves
consciously slowing and deepening your breathing. Research has demonstrated many health benefits
of deep breathing. In this guide we will focus on its use for stress management and relaxation.
After some brief instructions, we’ll help guide you in practicing this skill. When a
person experiences anxiety, the body responds with symptoms that can include a racing heart,
shallow breaths, sweating, a sense of fear or uneasiness, difficulty concentrating, and
a blank mind. These symptoms can range from being slightly uncomfortable to being totally
debilitating. Deep breathing is used to initiate the body’s relaxation response. Relaxation
is characterized by slower breathing, lower blood pressure, and a feeling of calm. Deep
breathing can be used in the moment when you’re experiencing a stressful situation, but it’s
also beneficial to practice when you already feel calm. To begin the exercise, sit in a
comfortable position. You will slowly take in a deep breath, hold it, and then slowly
release it. Each one of these steps will be timed to last 5 seconds. We’ll display a counter
on the screen, but it’s important that you time yourself when you’re practicing on your
own. It’s easy to go too quickly if you aren’t paying attention. One quick tip before we
get started: breathe in through your nose, and breathe out through your mouth, as if
you’re blowing through a straw. This will help to slow yourself down. Consult your physician
before practicing, especially if you have a history of epilepsy or heart disease. Let’s
begin. Follow the on screen timer to pace yourself. You’ve completed the deep breathing exercise.
Be sure to practice daily for the full benefit of this skill.