Woman feeling the benefits of deep breathing

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Breathe in and breathe out: The calming effects of deep breathing

Deep breathing is good for our bodies and can help change negative thoughts to more positive thoughts. In other words, we can learn to use our breath and bodies to help our mind feel better.

When you are stressed, nervous, frightened, worried or angry, you may notice that your breathing gets low and fast. Your breath will come from higher up in your chest when you are upset. In calmer times, your breathing will be slower and deeper. Your breath will come more from your stomach and underneath your ribs.

You can learn to pay attention to your breathing, slow it down, making each breath longer and deeper. This is when you’ll begin to feel the calming effects of deep breathing.

Benefits of deep breathing

When you practice deep breathing you’ll not only become good at staying calm or return to feeling calm in stressful situations, you may have these additional benefits too:

  • pain relief
  • improved immune system and circulation
  • increased energy
  • lower blood pressure
  • better digestion
  • improved posture
  • clearer mind

    Girl doing deep breathing technique

Deep breathing techniques 

Breathing is an automatic reflex. You don’t even have to think about it–it just happens! But being aware of your breath can help you feel more relaxed.  Here are a few deep breathing techniques that you can practice and do almost anywhere, for as long as you feel comfortable. 

Mindful breathing

An easy way to be more mindful is to think about smelling your favorite scent.  Smelling is actually taking in a deep breath on purpose. Try this mindful breathing technique:

  • Start by closing your eyes and imagine smelling your favorite scent.
  • Breathe in for the count of two.
  • Breathe out for the count of four.
  • Repeat for a minute.

Balloon and candle breathing

This breathing technique really encourages slow, full inhales and exhales to calm your mind and body. Here’s how to do balloon and candle breathing:

  • Sit with your back straight and your legs crossed, or feet flat on the floor if you are sitting in a chair.
  • Breathe in deeply through your nose, filling your lungs like a balloon.
  • Imagine seeing your birthday cake with all its bright candles, blow them out with a strong breath through your mouth.
  • Repeat for a minute.

Breathe in, bubbles out 

This technique is a great way to focus on slowing down your breath, because you have to blow a bubble really slow or it will pop. Try these bubble blowing breaths:

  • Take a deep breath in through your nose, filling your lungs with air.
  • Hold your breath for one to two seconds.
  • Imagine putting up a bubble wand and blow slowly out your mouth.
  • Repeat three to five times.

All of us, including kids, can benefit from deep breathing techniques and the calming effects they have on our bodies. Help kids learn how to breathe to relax their bodies and minds with this lesson from healthpoweredkids.org: It’s All in the Breathing

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