Breathing Exercises for Relaxation

Breathing, especially diaphragmatic or abdominal (belly) breathing, is a special form of relaxation. While we all breathe to live, not all of us breathe in the most effective or efficient way. Pain, stress and tension interfere with our breathing patterns, making each breath shallow rather than deep and relaxing. We need to learn diaphragmatic breathing to use our lungs to their fullest capacity and conserve energy.


  1. Find a comfortable position either lying down on your back or sitting in a chair.
  2. Relax your shoulders.
  3. Place one hand on your abdomen just above your navel and below your breastbone, and the other hand on the upper part of your chest.
  4. Close your eyes and become aware of your breathing.
  5. Breathe in through your nose, and as you breathe out, do so slowly through gently pursed lips. (Like you are gently blowing out a candle)
  6. As you breathe through your nose, feel your abdomen rising as if it were a balloon filling with air.
  7. As you get comfortable with this technique it then can be used in a multitude of situations to help calm yourself and reduce stress level or anger.

Breath Focusing

When you learn breath focusing, you will find it becomes difficult to hold on to your tension, stress, or anger.


  1. Take a slow, deep breath from your diaphragm.
  2. Concentrate on your breathing.
  3. Breath in slowly through your nose, hold it for a few seconds, and breath out through your mouth.
  4. Tell yourself to relax.
  5. Concentrate on your breathing, keep it slow and easy.

To avoid hyperventilation, keep your breathing slow and easy when practicing these techniques.

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