Stress: Powerful Breathing Technique

Stress affects us all. There are lots of effective ways to deal with stressful thoughts and situations. Prayer and EFT are two of my very favorite. But there are times when you need to calm down, very quickly, in the moment and one of the most effective strategies is breath work.

I learned about a type of breathing technique used by Navy Seals and first responders to remain calm in the midst of a stressful situation. If you were not aware, our breathing is so closely linked to our emotional state, that changing it can practically negate anxiety completely.

Whenever we are stressed or anxious, our fight or flight response kicks in. It will be triggered when we encounter any type of stress, whether it is a dangerous, physical situation or a problem with your boss or a loved one. Once stressed the body can take up to 45 minutes before it returns to a normal state. Since there seems to be an endless supply of all sorts of triggers that can keep us locked in stressful states for long periods of time, learning a simple deep breathing technique can make a huge difference.

Any form of deep, conscious breathing can interrupt the fight or flight response and trigger calming alpha brain waves that restore mind-body harmony. Box-breathing is very simple:

Inhale, through your nose, using your diaphragm, while counting to 5. Fill your lungs to maximum capacity; hold for count of 5, then exhale slowly, through your nose, to a slightly longer count of 5. Diaphramatic breathing is also called belly breathing and it is where you expand your belly as you fill your lungs as opposed to shrugging your shoulders up toward your ears. That is shallow, stress breathing.

Notice the exhale is to be longer than the inhale. There is a reason for this. It causes the vagus nerve which runs from the neck down through your diaphragm to relay a message to your brain to turn down your sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system and turn up your parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system.

Once you are comfortable with the 5 count breathing technique, you can alter the ratio between inhalation and exhalation to trying to exhale to a longer slow count of 8. Then you can increase the ratios to 8:16 or 10:20 and more. But you don’t have to – as long as you become aware in the moment and take control over your breathing, you will experience relief.

Would you try the box-breathing technique the next time you are stressed?

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About amusico

I am a holistic health coach and independent nutritional consultant. All my coaching plans are based on my 3-D Living program and a big part of that are the Youngevity Products and Supplements I proudly offer! Visit my website at and learn more about the products and my coaching plans!
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6 Responses to Stress: Powerful Breathing Technique

  1. Holly Scherer says:

    Excellent info as always, Ann.

    So I noticed something interesting. When I opened your email and read the title, I breathed a little deeper. Then when I was reading the part about stress, I shortened my breaths and began to feel more anxious. I am always in awe at how our minds and bodies work together.

    I had heard of box breathing before but never about the longer exhale and what that actually does. Now I can explain why I feel so great after yoga: long exhales and my vagus nerve!

    • amusico says:

      Wow Holly I think it’s so cool how tuned in you are to your body! That’s awesome and so fascinating. We breathe without giving it a second thought but how we breathe is so important to our health – spirit, soul and body. Thanks for your comments – they are always so great.

      • Holly Scherer says:

        Thanks. I think I’m naturally in tune with things but I’ve really been paying closer attention in recent years because like you said, it all affects our health. I believe people’s feelings and emotions can make them sick and I try to be very mindful of what I can control.

      • amusico says:

        You are amazing Holly! That’s awesome. If only we would all do that.

  2. debwilson2 says:

    Ann, I just watched a breathing video yesterday. I guess I need to hear this! How wonderful God has made our bodies to help us deal with stress when we know how to cooperate with them.

    • amusico says:

      I love how you said that Debbie. God has made our bodies to help us deal with stress and He’s also provided wonderful discoveries and information to help us learn how to cooperate with what He created our bodies to do.

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