Breathing Techniques for Quick Stress Relief

Breathing techniques for quick stress relief are one of the simplest and most effective tools to short-circuit the stress response.

These breathing exercises take control of stress and promote relaxation and focus.

Do you ever get stressed about being stressed?

Do the pounding heart and the butterflies in your stomach before a big speech or exam make you even more stressed?

Sometimes the signs of stress can lead to more stress...which creates a vicious cycle of increasing stress.

I remember I used to get nervous before lecturing at university.

The pounding heart and nervous tension I felt before each class made me even more stressed.

I used to resist the sensation and wish that I could relax more. I remember saying to myself, “I hate feeling tense. My heart is pounding and I need to relax!”

Well...guess what happened next?

My heart raced faster than a ballistic missile and I got more uptight!

The more that I resisted the sensations the more they increased and the worse that I felt.

Breathing techniques offer a way to break this increasing cycle of stress.

Breathing techniques: The Centering Breath

In my practice I have used this Centering Breath for:

  • students who are nervous about exams
  • musicians who want to control their nerves
  • lawyers who need to focus on their argument
  • doctors who are under stress
  • athletes who need to calm their nerves quickly.

This deep breathing exercise quickly counters the stress response and offers a strategy for quick stress relief.

So next time you feel the stress rising, try this breathing technique to short-circuit it and take control.

This breathing exercise can be performed quickly by just about anyone.

The Centering Breath

  1. Sit or stand in a relaxed position.

    Making sure that your feet are flat on the floor and your back is straight.

    If standing, make sure that your feet are shoulder width apart and your legs slightly bent at the knees.

  2. Inhale through your nose.

    Ensure that you are expanding your belly and not raising your shoulders.

    To check that you are doing diaphragmatic breathing correctly put one hand on your abdomen and one hand on your chest.

    As you inhale, your hand on the abdomen should move out, and as you exhale this same hand should move in.

    The hand on your chest should remain relatively still.

  3. Exhale through your mouth.
  4. Do once.

Tips to remember for this deep breathing technique

  1. While you breathe in let the belly expand outwards.

    Think of the air going into your lungs and feel your muscles in your stomach expand.

    Thinking of the air going into your lungs means that you are not able to worry about any distracting thoughts that are crowding out your mind.

  2. When you breathe out, you can slightly tighten your throat as you let the air out - so that the air coming out makes a slight noise.

    This is similar to some types of yoga breathing exercises and is great for tension relief.

    The quietest and most calming part of the breath is at the end of the exhalation when you can feel a stillness and calmness.

    Use this point to focus your concentration on the task at hand.

  3. Practice several times a day and score yourself on how well you did the breathing exercise and whether you noticed any stress reduction.

    With practice you start to automatically take a deep breath in stressful situations to momentarily relax yourself.

Search here for other breathing exercises



Have A Great Tip for Quick Stress Relief Breathing Techniques?

Do you have a great tip for quick stress relief breathing techniques? Share it!

Related stress management articles

alternate nostril breathing Alternate Nostril Breathing

Yoga Breathing Exercises to Reduce Stress

deep breathing exercise Deep Breathing Exercise

Breath Counting Exercise for Relaxation and Focus


More stress management articles

Deep Breathing Exercises: Breathing Exercises to Manage Stress

Deep Breathing Technique: Controlled Tempo Breathing



Click here to return from breathing techniques for quick stress relief to breathing exercises.

Click here to return to the stress management homepage.

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.