It’s no secret that our emotional state is expressed in the way we breathe, but did you know that to a certain extent the reverse is also true? Yes, you can affect your emotional state by controlling your breathing. According to Harvard Health, simply by changing our breathing rhythms from short and shallow (which we usually default to in times of stress) to long, slow, deep breaths, we can automatically switch on what the researchers call our innate “relaxation response.”
It’s easy to manage your breathing in order to achieve this effect, and it can be done standing, sitting, or lying down. First, just take a normal breath. Then, on your next inhale, slowly inhale through your nose, letting your lower belly expand and chest rise, and keep breathing in until your lungs feel full. Pause here for a second, and then with a controlled and slow exhale breathe out through your mouth (per Harvard Health). Practice this controlled breathing for at least five minutes and you will feel the stress float away like a soft breeze.