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Breathing Techniques for Stress Relief

Feb. 21, 2014|648 views
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Sometimes when my 10 year old son Micah drills me with endless questions while I have my 12 month old Luca whining for my attention all I can do is take a deep breath in an effort to not pull my hair or raise my tone of voice.

I have found that 3 to 5 deep breaths are very effective and the reality is that with this technique I am able to handle these situations.

Actually alternate nostril breathing can help you achieve calm relatively quickly, it takes some practice but its rather easy

Sit upright. On the floor, with legs crossed in front of you is more traditional, but in a chair is fine, too. Just keep the spine straight.

With the right hand, press the middle and index fingers gently to the space between the eyebrows. Gently close off the right nostril with the right thumb. Inhale through the left nostril. Now close off the left nostril with the ring finger, release the right nostril and exhale through the right nostril. Breathe in through the right nostril, then close off the right nostril, then release the left nostril and exhale through the left. Continue this sequence of slow, gentle breaths—in one side, out the opposite, and so on—for several minutes. Don’t attempt to breathe forcefully. There’s no need to strain, just breathe naturally. Of course, if you are left handed, simply switch hands to do alternate nostril breathing. You may find that’s it’s handy to keep a tissue at the ready.

This simple technique can quickly restore calm in times of stress. Some recommend doing this breathing technique whenever you face an unusually emotional or stressful task or event, such as right before undergoing a job interview.  

The Chopra Center website. Bhastrika breath. Accessed 2-13-14 from:


The Mayo Clinic website. Healthy living page. Stress management. Accessed 2-13-14 from:  

Tags:  health tips, stress