How do breathing exercises for stress help? What is stress and who’s on its radar?
Why the urgent need to talk about deep breathing exercises for stress? In today’s world, there is hardly anyone who is not familiar with the word stress. Stress has become a common issue amongst the young generation and even the middle and elderly are not spared by it. Certainly, something has gone terribly wrong with our lifestyles lately!
Never mind! Time to fix it now!
What is stress?
Negative stress is a state of mind where it stops thinking straight and feels a lot of pressure. The reason I said, negative stress is that stress is not necessarily a negative thing altogether, it can sometimes act as a driving force for better productivity or can help you combat a challenging situation too. Confused? Let me explain.
Stress, as defined by the dictionary is state of mind where a person feels pressure or tension. It is can be broadly classified as a physical response to any situation, for example, declaration of dates for your most important exam, the deadline of a challenging project, onset of new responsibilities and similar situations.
Under stress, the body of a person releases hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. These hormones are good and useful when secreted in moderate quantities.
Negative stress is a situation where these hormones are secreted in a haphazard manner and make a person weak in mind so that he is unable to think straight.
Higher levels of stress may also induce ill-functioning of some physical organs and may also lead to fatal conditions.
Hence, there arrives a need to keep a check on your stress levels and how to manage them.
What’re the best ways I can be of help? Obviously, breathing exercises for stress is in my kitty today. So, let’s check out the causes, symptoms, vulnerability, stress management techniques, yoga breathing exercises for stress, handling stress and how effective are breathing exercises for stress.
Causes and Effects of Stress
The main cause of stress is your mind. The causes of stress may differ for different people. Some may find handling children a stressful task and the other one may feel stressed with elderly people. It’s all about dealing with an uncomfortable and unhappy situation that makes you feel stressed.
Be it any cause, stress often leads to three kinds of effects.
The fight response: This is a defensive mode of a person undergoing stress. In a fight mode, a person develops a habit of rejecting and repulsing every solution offered to him.
He becomes very aggressive and is ready to protest and object whatever he identifies as a stressor. Fight response is a productive response when triggered by a shorter goal. When it prolongs for a longer period of time it turns into a disorder.
Constant mode of aggression and anger may damage a person emotionally and might result in broken relationships and hurt sentiments.
The flight response: This is sheer escapism. In an attempt to surpass the stress, a person tries to avoid the situations that stress him out. He constantly procrastinates tasks and events to avoid stress, ending up with piled up responsibilities that further add up to his stress levels.
The freeze response: This is a terrible state where the person loses his sense of conduct and just simply goes numb. This is a state of immediate response when a person is struck with a stressful news or a shocking trauma.
In this situation, a person has no control over his senses and they stop functioning. He may go blank and just refuse to see, hear or sense anything. His body parts may give up and he may eventually faint.
How to identify stress?
Stress, like depression, is a symptom troubling your health that needs to be acknowledged and cured. There are many ways that you can identify if you or anyone around you is under stress. Take a look at these symptoms below to identify stress:
Believe me, your body loves you more loyally than anyone else. As soon as there is something wrong with you, your body will start giving out signals. Watch out for these signals and help yourself immediately.
- A severe headache and body pain
- Lethargy or over alertness
- Lower libido
Stress affects your behavior in a strange way, a person when under stress starts behaving different from his normal self, for example, someone who is natural, health-conscious may start indulging into unhealthy habits like smoking, alcohol intake and reduction in physical activities and over-eating.
The other behavioral symptoms are as follows:
- Aloofness and absence of mind
- Talking too much or too less
- Seeking attention and getting worked up if not done
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Expressing anger over petty issues
What is stress management?
So, yes! It’s not stress reduction but stress management. Like I said earlier, stress when experienced in moderate quantity and at appropriate situations can actually help you excel your productivity.
So, in other words, you need to manage your stress in such a way that it does not hamper your productivity, your health, and your personal life.
The basic step towards stress management is being organized. The more organized you are and the more skilled you are managing your time, the lesser stressful you would be.
Managing your stress totally depends on your as no one else can better define your coping abilities and your threshold. So, managing your stress is your forte.
Breathing exercises for stress are the best stress management techniques, according to me, as they do not require any special place, clothes or time. All they need is you and your enemy, stress.
Let’s now begin with the breathing exercises useful and also essential for perfect stress management.
How to start breathing exercises for stress?
Breathing is the most important part of your lifestyle and it affects your entire body to a much larger extent than you can anticipate.
Stress, whether negative or positive can be handled with doing some breathing exercises for stress. Breathing exercises for stress are the perfect medicine as they have infinite benefits with no side effects at all.
So, let’s kick it off with breathing exercises for stress. Breathing exercises for stress are very easy to start. Whenever you feel a stress or tension in your mind, all you need to do is start doing these exercises that may help you handle your stress easily.
The best breathing exercise for stress is the deep breathing or belly breathing exercise. For a start, just start practicing full-breathing for two minutes daily, I bet you will find it difficult for initial few days!
Set an alarm for two minutes and practice inhalation and exhalation completely through your belly. After two minutes, you’ll be amazed to find out that our hectic schedules have overtaken us so much that we have even forgotten how to breathe fully.
So, try breathing exercises for stress beginning with deep breathing and let me know your experience.
Importance of Yoga Breathing Exercises for Stress
Breathing is the fundamental necessity of survival. If we set our breathing correct there is nothing in the world that we can’t achieve.
Stress, on one hand, can push you to hard to extend your limits and increase your potential, but on the other hand can turn fatal if mismanaged.
Yoga breathing exercises give you the power to control your breathing and manage your stress. The pranayamas and breathing exercises for stress actually help you to calm down and relax.
They help you to get rid of the anxiety that you are experiencing due to stress. They help you think straight when you are not able to. Also, they help you get rid of the physical problems associated with stress.
Yoga breathing exercises for stress are extremely important, even for those who don’t feel they are too stressed or over-burdened. Breathing exercises for stress are for all and they induce better sleep and improved digestion also.
So, let’s go through some benefits of breathing exercises for stress and then see which are the best ones to practice. Read along…
Benefits of Breathing Exercises for Stress
Breathing exercises for stress relief have immense benefits. Superficially, breathing exercises for stress may look like a symptomatic treatment for stress but that’s not true.
Practicing breathing exercises for stress helps you develop a routine, hence forming a base to your organized life. Apart from the immediate benefits, like relaxation and calmness, breathing exercises for stress help you organize your life and handle the stress response in a better way.
Benefits of breathing exercises for stress also include relief from insomnia, healthier metabolism, enhanced productivity and ultimately a happier, stress-free life.
So, what are you waiting for? Just take a step forward and go for these breathing exercises for stress, just begin with 5 minutes every morning and observe the change.
Useful Breathing Exercises for Stress
The most useful yoga breathing exercises for stress are the ones that allow you to breathe deeply and help you relax. The breathing exercises that I suggest below are extremely helpful in fighting stress, not symptomatically but eternally.
Nadi Shodhan Pranayama
This pranayama is the king of yoga breathing exercises for stress. Nadi Shodhan is a process of rectification or clearance of the energy channels present in our subtle bodies.
These channels are blocked prominently by stress, so practicing this pranayama is the best way to release stress from your body.
- Sit on your mat in a comfortable position.
- Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through your left nostril.
- Now, open your right nostril and exhale.
- While exhaling, slowly close your left nostril with your left thumb.
- Inhale through your right nostril.
- Open the left nostril and exhale.
- Repeat this pranayama for 20 times.
This is one of the most effective breathing exercises for stress. This pranayama is known for calming the mind and increasing sharpness in children.
- Sit cross-legged (sukhasana) on your mat.
- Close your eyes and place your fingers as suggested below:
- Place the index finger on each eyebrow.
- Place the middle finger on the eyelids.
- Place the ring fingers on each nostril.
- Cover your ears with your thumbs.
- Now, take a deep breath and close both the nostrils with your ring fingers.
- Hold your breath and make a humming sound.
- Let the sound resonate with your ears and head.
- Slowly open your right nostril and exhale.
- Do not stop the hum. Let it die naturally.
- Repeat the same with left nostril.
- Perform this pranayama 7 times.
Bhastrika Pranayama (Bellow breathing)
- Sit on the mat in a comfortable position.
- Initially, keep your breathing normal.
- Focus on your breaths and feel yourself inhaling.
- Feel the oxygen passing through your windpipe to your stomach.
- Exhale, feel the negativity thrown out of your body with the carbon-di-oxide.
- Focus on how the blood carries oxygen to each and every part of your body.
- Take time to observe your inner-self.
- Take time to inhale as well as exhale.
- Repeat this pranayama for 9 times.
- Sit in cross-legged position (sukhasana) or the lotus position (padmasana) on your mat.
- Place your hands on your lap one over the other with palms facing upwards.
- Keep your palms open.
- Close your eyes and inhale deeply.
- Let the air fill in your stomach.
- Now, exhale in bits creating a pressure on your stomach.
- Do it for ten times in one breathe.
- Repeat the set for 3 times.
The name of this pranayama itself means it is victory breathing, so this pranayama is sure to boost up your confidence level hence relieving you from stress. This is one of the most wonderful breathing exercises for stress.
Ujjayi pranayama provides warmth in your body and gives you an instant sense of comfort.
- Sit in a comfortable position either sukhasana or padmasana.
- Close your eyes and open your mouth wide. Relax your jaws.
- Inhale deeply through your mouth.
- While exhaling, make a sound like ‘aah’ and throw out the air with force.
- Make sure that you are inhaling as well as exhaling maximum air through your mouth.
Practising this pranayama strengthens your lungs and fills you with an immediate sense of strength and power. It relieves you of stress and allows your mind to think straight.
Deep Breathing Exercises for Stress
Deep breathing exercises for stress are extremely beneficial as the counter force of stress is relaxation and calmness. The amount of relaxation and calmness that we can achieve through deep breathing is not possible through any other exercise, hence deep breathing is very important and helpful in stress management.
This pranayama works wonders to relieve you from stress and acts as an ultimate mood lifter.
- Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes.
- Inhale deeply and resonate ‘Om’ in your mind.
- The vibrations of ‘om’ resonate at a frequency of 136.1 Hz. This is the frequency that synchronizes with that of earth and makes you feel grounded, warm, safe and secure.
- Exhale and keep the word resonating in your mind. Experience your worries leaving out with every exhalation.
- Repeat the exercise for 5 minutes and slowly open your eyes.
This is the advanced version of Pranav Pranayama, it is recommended that you should practice this pranayama every morning whether under stress or not.
- Sit in a comfortable position.
- Inhale deeply and chant ‘Om’. Sustain as long as you can.
- Keep the humming sound as you exhale.
- Repeat it for 10 times.
You can practice this breathing exercise for stress while sitting or lying down. This is a nice practice that lets you breathe deeply. Deep breathing stimulates your nerves and you start thinking straight, it also induces a sense of calmness and relaxation in your entire body and you will feel all the tension, stiffness and stress leaving you immediately.
- Sit in a comfortable position.
- Place your palms on your belly and inhale.
- Make sure you don’t pump up your chest while inhalation and try to fill in your belly with air as much as possible.
- Hold for 10 seconds.
- Exhale and try to squeeze the belly as much as possible.
- Hold for 10 seconds.
- Relax and repeat the exercise for 5 times.
Now it’s time to answer all the questions related to breathing exercises for stress. These FAQs summarise the entire piece of information and help you find the technique that suits you the best to check out if they answer all your queries regarding breathing exercises for stress, if not then feel free to ask us. Read on:
Q: How does breathing technique help with stress?
A: As we have already discussed, breathing is always the most ignored and underestimated activity of the human body but while doing that we don’t realize that 90% of our physical and psychological problems can be cured just by proper breathing.
In such a situation, breathing exercises for stress are extremely important to perform as well as highly beneficial as stress is the biggest problem of the modern world.
The permanent relief from any trouble happens only when you destroy the problem from the root. The root cause of stress is tension in the mind that can be immediately curbed with breathing exercises for stress.
For the ones who are suffering from stress, yoga breathing exercises, deep breathing exercises for stress will be extremely beneficial to maintain their emotional as well as physical health.
For the ones who are not struck by negative stress as yet, should also begin practicing the breathing exercises for stress as they strengthen your respiratory system and you will develop immunity and endurance towards any kind of stress.
Q: What are stress relieving activities?
A: Apart from mindful breathing, stress relieving activities can be many, to relieve yourself from stress one should have pets and plants at your home, take in a lot of sunlight, take up the long-pending activity, indulge in something creative, cook delicious food, eat healthy, drink a lot of water, spend time in nature, de-clutter your house and practice breathing exercises for stress with consistency.
Q: How do deep breathing exercises for stress relieve anxiety?
A: Anxiety is a result of immediate response towards any situation, so breathing exercises for stress are an ultimate help as breathing makes you think straight and at a right pace. It helps you relieve anxiety and tension and makes you calm instantly.
Q: Do deep breathing exercises for stress help?
A: Deep breathing naturally calms your mind and makes you feel relax. Deep breathing exercises for stress are extremely helpful as they instantly calm your mind. These breathing exercises for stress relieve the tension in your mind and gives you the confidence to manage your stress and think straight in adverse situations.
Q: Is practicing Yoga breathing exercises for stress helpful in relieving stress during pregnancy?
A: As I always love to say that yoga is not just a group of physical exercises but a complete module to rejuvenate mind, body, and soul. Practicing yoga makes you an organized and a peaceful person. It helps you, de-clutter your mind and once your mind is clear it helps you focus better and think straight.
Practicing yoga develops a routine in your life and makes your life more organized and stress-free.
Q: How to convince a person to opt for breathing exercises for stress?
A: Breathing exercises for stress are not something that needs to be urged for. These exercises can be done at any time of the day and whenever or wherever you feel tensed or stressed out.
Opting for these exercises is like developing a practice of healthy living. It will be agreeable to everyone who wishes to live a healthier life and is ready to believe in the power of mindful breathing.
Q: How to identify if I am stressed?
A: Identification of stress is very easy, when you experience the symptoms that I have listed above, then you should understand that you are under stress.
However, there are different levels of stress and it is not necessary that every stress is negative or harmful, stress is a response to stimulus and can actually help us become more productive and active, so you just need to identify when your stress levels are crossing the lines of decency and taking a toll on your physical and emotional health.
Breathing exercises for stress should be practiced by each of us so that it may help us with stress management in a better way and the stress never becomes negative for us.
Q: Is stress as dangerous as depression?
A: It may become dangerous if not identifies and cured at the right time, depression is nothing but an advanced stage of stress when a person forgets the normal way of living and makes stressfulness his identity, he loses interest in life and becomes a workaholic or numb.
Breathing exercises for stress will never make you feel depressed even for the slightest period of time and stress won’t overtake your personality to an extent that you can’t cope up with it.
Breathing exercises for stress are an ultimate solution to all your stress-related problems. They don’t let stress become as dangerous as depression, in fact these breathing exercises for stress are equally effective in curing acute depression and anxiety attacks too.
Q: Are children vulnerable to stress?
A: In the modern world, children are exposed to many things that may or may not be necessary for them, this creates a lot of unnecessary burden on their minds. Young minds are bound to be super active and can process things at a much faster rate, also the cut-throat competition can also easily take a toll on their vulnerable minds. So, thinking that children can’t be under stress or depression is an old-school idea now, they are equally vulnerable and should be taught to practice mindful breathing from a young age.
Breathing exercises for stress can be extremely beneficial for them as they also help in sharpening the mind and channelizing the thoughts, a much-needed aid for children.
Practicing breathing exercises will help the children stay away from negative stress and also to help them perform better in their academics.
Q: What is the difference between stress and anxiety and how to deal with it?
A: Stress and anxiety both follow each other and therefore are often mistaken to be same. Stress is an immediate response to any situation whereas anxiety is what follows. High levels of anxiety lead to depression where a person is not able to think anything else other than negativity and constantly awaits his doom.
Breathing exercises for stress help you to deal with your anxious mind and you become stress-free. Be it anxiety or stress, breathing exercises for stress will help you deal with all kinds of negative emotions, panic attacks, and other issues.
So, what are you waiting for, just close your eyes, begin the breathing exercises for stress and see the magic…