Everyone's had the kind of day when there's so much to do that it feels like they can't even take time to take a breath. However, that's counter-intuitive, because breathing is often one of the best ways that someone can calm down and take a second to assess their situation. When the day feels like it's spinning out of control, these exercises can make a real difference!
There's a reason people say to take a deep breath when they need a moment: because it works. When a person takes the time to breathe deeply as opposed to taking a short, quick breath, they're giving their body the chance to take in oxygen and get it flowing through the bloodstream.
To breathe deep, simply breathe in through the nose and allow the stomach to fill with air, then slowly let it out. It'll go a long way toward feeling more relaxed and getting rid of stress.
This technique requires taking a few minutes to focus on breathing and making sure that both the inhale and exhale take the same amount of time. Equal breathing is best done when a person genuinely has 10 to 15 minutes to take a break, as it doesn't allow for doing multiple things at once. A person has to count their breaths carefully to ensure the same amount of time for each, almost forcing them to slow down and relax.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
This is an ancient Sanskrit practice known as nadi shodhana pranayama, and it involves taking the time to breathe in and out through each nostril. To practice the technique correctly, a person closes one nostril and breathes in and out through the other, then switches to complete the cycle. This is done best over a couple of minutes at a time, as it's not recommended to do this for more than five minutes at a time.
Posture and time are important aspects in this practice, which forces people to slow down and count their breaths. To practice 4-7-8 breathing, a person first straightens their back and expels any air from their lungs through the mouth, then closes the mouth and breathes in through the nose for four seconds. Next, they hold their breath for seven seconds before breathing out over eight seconds. As each cycle takes 20 seconds, slowing down is a must.
This practice combines breathing deep with relaxing individual groups of muscles. As a person breathes in, they also take the time to focus on one set of muscles and cause them to relax. This repeats itself until every group of muscles in the body have had a chance to release tension and exhale it through the lungs.