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Take A Deep Breath: Breathing Techniques For Managing Stress

Take A Deep Breath: Breathing Techniques For Managing Stress

by Zachary Vandenberg, DPTLeave a Comment

Stress is unavoidable, but how we manage it can make all the difference in our overall well-being. One powerful tool that often goes overlooked is the simple act of breathing. In this blog, we’ll explore breathing techniques that can be your secret weapon in combating stress and improving your mental and physical health.

Diaphragmatic Breathing (Deep Belly Breaths)

How to:

  • Sit or lie down comfortably
  • Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen
  • Inhale deeply through your nose, expanding your diaphragm and feeling your abdomen rise
  • Exhale slowly through pursed lips, feeling your abdomen fall


  • Stress reduction: Diaphragmatic breathing activates the body’s relaxation response, calming the nervous system.
  • Improved oxygen flow: Enhances oxygen exchange, promoting better circulation and reducing tension.

Box Breathing (Square Breathing)

How to:

  • Inhale slowly for a count of four
  • Hold your breath for a count of four
  • Exhale slowly for a count of four
  • Pause and hold your breath for another count of four


  • Anxiety management: Box breathing helps regulate the autonomic nervous system, reducing feelings of anxiety.
  • Increased focus: Enhances concentration and mental clarity by promoting mindfulness.

4-7-8 Breathing (Relaxing Breath)

How to:

  • Inhale quietly through your nose for a count of four
  • Hold your breath for a count of seven
  • Exhale completely through your mouth for a count of eight


  • Stress and insomnia relief: 4-7-8 breathing is renowned for its calming effects, aiding in stress management and sleep quality.
  • Emotional regulation: Promotes a sense of control and emotional stability.

Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)

How to:

  • Sit comfortably with your spine straight
  • Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale deeply through the left nostril
  • Close the left nostril with your right ring finger and release the right nostril as you exhale
  • Inhale deeply through the right nostril, close it, and release the left nostril as you exhale


  • Balanced energy: Nadi Shodhana helps balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain, promoting overall well-being.
  • Stress reduction: Calms the mind and reduces stress by encouraging focused and rhythmic breathing.

Consult With A Physical Therapist For Personalized Guidance

While incorporating these breathing techniques into your daily routine can improve stress management, it’s essential to recognize that everyone’s body responds differently. For personalized guidance on stress reduction and overall well-being, consider consulting with a physical therapist (PT). A PT can assess your unique needs, provide tailored exercises, and guide you toward a holistic approach to stress management. Remember, taking a deep breath isn’t just a saying – it’s a powerful tool for mental and physical health. Reach out to a PT today and embark on a journey to a healthier, more balanced life.

Schedule a Free Assessment

*Per federal guidelines, beneficiaries of plans such as Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, VHA and other federally funded plans are not eligible for free assessments.

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

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Choose PTGeneralbox breathingdeep breathingdiaphragmatic breathingNadi Shodhana

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