Lucas Brenner » Articles » Breathing as a Cure for Stress

Breathing, as one of the most important bodily functions, affects all areas of life. Therefore, one should breathe properly. This may sound strange, because nothing seems easier than to take a breath. However, you have to pay attention to a few things when breathing.

With the steps presented here, you can relieve stress symptoms, improve your performance and strengthen your lungs.

Breathe through Your Nose

The nose is designed to clean, moisten and warm up the inhaled air. This protects the lungs.

Breathing through the mouth means bypassing these protective mechanisms: Cold, dry air contaminated with bacteria and viruses enters the lungs.

It is not always possible to breathe only through the nose. During sports, you usually need the extra air. In everyday life, you should still make sure to breathe through your nose. At night, improper breathing can lead to reduced sleep quality.

Breathe into the Diaphragm

In addition to the way the air reaches the lungs, the amount that arrives is also crucial. Through this so-called diaphragmatic breathing, enough air gets into your lungs.

Since I have been playing the clarinet since childhood, I am used to “breathing into the diaphragm.” This means that when I breathe in, I don't stop in the upper chest area, but metaphorically let the air flow all the way into my stomach.

Make sure that your belly expands when you inhale and retracts when you exhale (not the other way around!).

Exhale Longer than You Inhale

You should make sure that you exhale longer than you inhale. An (unconscious) increase of the breathing rate triggers stress. Your body is conditioned to accelerate your heartbeat and breath when you are in danger, so that more oxygen flows into the blood. With the help of adrenaline and other stress hormones, your body increases your performance in the short term.

However, in the long run, this state is not healthy. You can effectively counteract stress with slow, regular breathing. Breathing is suitable for both prevention and acute stress relief.

Sigh Physiologically

There are 300,000 million tiny air sacs in your lungs, which are responsible for the gas exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. The so-called alveoli take in oxygen, transport it into the blood and release carbon dioxide when you exhale. In the course of the day, however, the alveoli can collapse.

The Physiological Sigh, which everyone uses on average every five minutes, reopens your alveoli. You can use this method consciously to relieve stress.

To do this, first breathe in normally. After that, inhale a little more. Lastly, exhale slowly and let the air flow out of your lungs evenly. Breathe, take in a little more air and then slowly exhale.

Breathe Consciously Sometimes

Consciously apply the methods presented in this article on a regular basis.

Whenever you have a quiet moment, consciously breathe in and out a few times. If you play a wind instrument, you can also incorporate these techniques into your music.

But do not forget that your body was born to breathe. Don't worry too much about the optimal breathing technique. Your body can breathe!

Give it the space to decide for itself when or how deep you need to breathe. Remember these exercises sometimes, but don't overthink it!