When you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, taking a few minutes to do some breathing exercises can be helpful.
This blog post will discuss three easy breathing exercises that take just three minutes and help you feel more relaxed and calm. So give them a try the next time you need a quick break!
How to use 3 Minutes to Calm
These exercises can be used at the beginning of a meditation (as I do) or throughout the day when you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
- Find a quiet space with few distractions.
- Sit comfortably with your feet on the floor or crossed comfortably.
- Close your eyes and focus on each slow, intentional breath.
- Each breathing exercise will be repeated three times before moving on to the next exercise. For example, the three-part breathing exercise will be performed three times before moving on to the alternate nostril breathing.
- These exercises are for everyone, regardless of your experience!
Ready? Here we go.
Three-part breathing exercise
The first breathing exercise is called Three Part Breathing, which is excellent for beginners. In this exercise, you will focus on breathing deeply into each part of your lungs.
For this exercise, we will think of our lungs in three parts – the upper, the middle, and the lower. The upper lung is in the chest, the middle lung in our ribcage, and the lower lung in the belly.
- Sit quietly and comfortably and gently close your eyes.
- Take a breath in through your nose to fill the upper lung. Hold for one second.
- Without exhaling, take a deeper breath in to fill the middle lung. Hold for one second.
- Without exhaling, take a deeper breath in to fill the lower lung. Hold for one second.
- Exhale through your mouth.
- Repeat three times. After the third time, move into alternate nostril breathing.
Alternate nostril breathing
In this exercise, you will use your thumb and ring finger to control your breathing. This exercise helps to restore emotional balance.
- Using your right thumb, gently close your right nostril.
- Inhale through your left nostril slowly and deeply.
- At the top of the inhale, close off your left nostril with your ring finger, release your right nostril, and exhale through the right.
- Inhale through the right nostril slowly and deeply.
- At the top of the inhale, close off your right nostril with your thumb, release your left nostril, and exhale through the left.
Repeat for three rounds (inhaling and exhaling through both nostrils three times).
Four seven eight breathing exercise
This breathing exercise is called the “Four Seven Eight” breathing exercise because you breathe in for four counts, hold your breath for seven counts, and then exhale for eight counts. This breathing exercise is a great way to slow down your breathing and reduce stress.
Here’s how to do it:
- Sit quietly and comfortably with your eyes closed.
- Breathe in through your nose for a count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale through your mouth for a count of eight.
Repeat three times.
The four, seven, eight breathing exercise can be done individually and is a great way to calm down during a stressful moment without anyone noticing.
These breathing exercises are easy to do and only take three minutes. Performed in succession, they will provide an immediate sense of calm.
They can be done anywhere, at any time, and don’t require special equipment. So give them a try the next time you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, and see how they help you to feel more calm and relaxed.