Relaxation through breathing

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Last Medical Review: April 1, 2020
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Elisabeth Vincent Hamelin

Those who feel stressed can try to do breathing exercises to relax. You can practice relaxation in many different places, such as when you take a bus, when you are in a waiting room, at your school or workplace. You can also practice relaxation when lying down.

When you do the exercises it is good if you sit or lie comfortably in a place where you are not disturbed. The first times you do the exercise, you may feel restless. Most people get used to it a few times and then the relaxation comes faster.

  1. Take some deep breaths through your nose. Relax in the shoulders so that they sink down. Relax in the stomach.
  2. Breathe in slowly through both nostrils and count to four over time.
  3. Hold your breath and count to two.
  4. Breathe out slowly through your nose and count to four again.
  5. Keep your breath out and count to two.
  6. Continue the exercise five to ten times.
  7. If it feels comfortable, you can let the exhalation take twice as long as the inhalation, and thus count to eight when you exhale.

A little longer breathing exercise

In this exercise, imagine that you are alternately breathing through one nostril at a time. This is mainly done in the tank. It doesn’t matter if the air enters and exits through both nostrils in reality.

  1. Take some deep breaths through your nose. Relax in the shoulders so that they sink down. Relax in the stomach.
  2. Breathe in slowly through the left nostril.
  3. Hold your breath for a few seconds.
  4. Exhale slowly through the right nostril.
  5. Hold your breath for a few seconds.
  6. Inhale slowly again, this time through the right nostril.
  7. Hold your breath for a few seconds.
  8. Exhale slowly through the left nostril.
  9. Hold your breath for a few seconds.
  10. Repeat the exercise from point 2 to point 9 four times.
  11. The fifth time you imagine the air going in and out through both nostrils.
  12. Repeat the entire exercise three times.

More ways to relax

There are many different methods of relaxation. For example, massage and physical activity can provide relaxation. Physical activity often releases tension in the body. Some think that yoga, meditation or going out into nature work well as relaxation.

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