How To Calm Yourself Down With Breathing

When you can learn how to calm yourself down with breathing, you will more effectively deal with stress.

Before you shout at me and say, I know how to breathe; it’s something I do every day. I want to share with you an 8 step technique that will take you to a new level.

In addition, if you add this breathing exercise to your self-care routine, you’ll be able to manage stress before it becomes an issue.

And I believe that learning how to breathe is part of the foundation from which you can build an excellent self-care routine, especially if you combine it with regular meditation.  You’ll find more about this at the end of this article

For the technique I want to share with you, there are 8 steps:

  1. Get Comfortable
  2. Relax your muscles
  3. Breathe out
  4. Feel your stomach
  5. Breathe in
  6. Breathe out longer
  7. Breathe in longer
  8. Take it to your mind

I know it sounds simple, but it’s not.  Learning how to be one with the breath takes practice.  You could say it’s like a skill or art.

So, are you ready to get started?

The 8 steps to breathing

take each step one at a time

The 8 Steps On How To Calm Yourself Down With Breathing

1. Get Comfortable

You can’t hope to achieve great results unless you’re comfortable.

Let’s face it, most of us have bought fabulous heeled shoes that make us feel fantastic.  We parade around the house and feel invincible.  But when it comes to wearing them out in public, if all they do is rub and give you a blister, the effect is lost.  All you can focus on is the pain.

So the first step is to get yourself comfortable.

When it comes to meditating and practising mindfulness, some would say that the only requirement is to get comfortable, and the mind takes care of the rest.

There’s no right way to do this.  You can either

  • Sit
  • Stand
  • Lay down

Whatever works for you.  Squidge about for a bit until you feel comfortable.  It’s like getting into bed each night and wriggling around until you find the perfect position which helps you to fall asleep.

calm yourself with breathing by getting comfortable

make yourself as comfortable as you can and then relax

2.  Time To Relax

Once you’ve got yourself into a comfortable position, it’s time to relax your muscles.

If it helps, you can work your way down your body, first clenching and then releasing each of your muscles in turn.

A technique I’ve found works for me is to imagine I’m doing a quality control test on each muscle group to see if they’re working correctly.

Start with your face and move down to your toes.

3. Feel Your Stomach

Now, this might sound weird, but to get into it, place a hand on your tummy.

Because we’re unaccustomed to breathing correctly with our diaphragm, it’s helpful to feel your stomach moving up and down.

4. Breathe Out

The next step is to expel all of the air in your body.  You want to be able to get rid of all the old air from a few moments ago, so it’s no longer inside you.

Imagine your belly is an airbed you want to deflate. However, you can’t release all the air at once.  More likely, the air is released slowly.  So do the same when you breathe out. 

The best way to do this is to draw your belly button into your spine and imagine all the air is coming out.

With your hand on your tummy, you will feel it collapse as you exhale. In this way, you know you’re getting all the benefits.

Breathe out for 3 seconds.

calm yourself by breathing in deeply

Breathe in through your nose

5. Breathe In

Once you’ve finished your exhale, it’s time to breathe in. Again, keep your hand on your tummy so you can feel the effects.

Close your mouth and take the new air in through your nose, and feel it as it makes its way through your body.

Breathe in for three seconds.

The new air will fill your lungs, and you’ll feel your tummy expand.

6. Breathe Out Longer

Okay, we’re now going to breathe out again.  But this time, try to breathe out a little longer.

Remember the airbed?  When it deflates, you think you got all the air out until you try to fold it up.  Then you realise there is still some air left in it that you need to release.  It’s the same with your body.  This step helps to remove all the breathe you are holding on to.

So, this time when you exhale, breathe out for five seconds.

Breathe out through your mouth. Feel your body empty all of the old air.

7. Breathe in Longer

The next time you take a breath, breathe in for a little longer.

Try breathing in through your nose for 5-7 seconds this time.

As you breathe in, feel the cold air on your nostrils and the calm it brings to your body.

Repeat steps 6 and 7 for as long as you need.

Repeat breathing in and out for as many times as you need to regain composure

8.  Take It to your Mind

Once you get the hang of this type of mindful breathing, think about what it’s doing to your mind. Realise the calm it’s bringing you, the invigoration it’s instilling in your body, and the change of old and welcoming of new.

Whilst this might not feel 100% comfortable, to begin with, after a few sessions of mindful breathing, you’ll start to feel its impact

"Mindful breathing can give you a greater sense of control; increased self-awareness; a greater sense of calm, peace, and happiness; and greater resilience in stressful times" Positive

2 Ways To Use The Breathing Technique

Now you’ve learned how to calm yourself down with your breathing, let’s look at how you can use this technique in everyday life.

calm yourself with breathing anywhere you feel stressed

You can do this breathing exercise wherever you want to. Need to respond to an aggressive email - take a breath first

Take 5 Minutes

Life is busy. We’re all prone to running around trying to get everything done and keeping everyone happy.  Quite frankly, it’s not only exhausting, but it’s also stressful.  As a result, when it gets too much, we end up like a toddler throwing a tantrum and shouting at the world that life is unfair.

Sometimes we need to take a step back. 

Believe me, taking just 5 minutes to focus on your breath will help you enormously. You’ll be able to carry on more successfully without getting more stressed.

However, if you want to gain the most benefit, consider adding meditation as part of your daily self-care routine. 

Add Meditation As Part Of Your Self-Care Routine

For those prone to stress, meditation is often recommended – it was for me, and I gained a lot from adopting the practice.  You can learn more about my own experience here.

Meditation is all about the breath to clear the mind. Likewise, when undertaking any exercise, whether yoga or cardiovascular, the breath helps you perform better.

So it’s no surprise that there has been a rise in the popularity of breathing techniques.  And when you learn how to calm yourself down with breathing, you will benefit from your meditation.

In Conclusion

Stress is a fact of life for most of us. 

But you can reduce its impact when you learn how to calm yourself down with breathing by following the 8 steps.

So get ready to:

  1. Get comfortable
  2. Relax your muscles
  3. Breathe out
  4. Feel your stomach
  5. Breathe in
  6. Breathe out longer
  7. Breathe in longer
  8. Take it to your mind

You’ll not only boost positivity, but you’ll also benefit from a sense of calm and clarity.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “prevention is better than cure” That’s why your breathing is part of your self-care arsenal because it can help you reduce stress before it becomes an issue.

Give the breathing exercise a go right now.  Then when you feel stressed, you’ll be able to make immediate use of it.

About the author Alison

A qualified UK based coach with 30 years of experience in personal development.

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