Breathing exercises to relax


Breathing exercises for relaxation are exercises that are intended to put the body and mind in a relaxed position. Without aids, you can do simple breathing exercises at any time and place in order to collect yourself and relax. Breathing exercises are particularly suitable for this, as breathing influences our body and can thus positively influence and dampen it in stressful situations.

On the other hand, breathing exercises are useful to fix the tense mind on the breathing and to suppress unpleasant thoughts and ruminations.

Read more on the topic: Breathing exercises to help you fall asleep


Basically, there are a variety of different breathing exercises and it makes sense to try a few different ones to find one that makes you feel best personally and that works most effectively for you individually. Relaxation techniques are not necessarily immediately successful and it takes some practice to calm the body and psyche quickly with simple breathing exercises and bring them back to a comfortable position, especially in a restless and stressful environment, such as at work.

Read more on the topic: Relaxation techniques

It makes perfect sense to practice breathing exercises at home in a quiet, familiar environment in order to be able to call them up in the tense situation. It can be helpful to imagine the same instructions for the exercises to yourself in order to make it easier for the mind to focus on the exercise in a “mantra-like” manner. Breathing exercises can be combined well with perception exercises, e.g. from autogenic training, or they can also be performed in isolation.

Read more on the topic: Autogenic training

For example, a breathing exercise for relaxation might look like this.

“I feel my breath calmly flowing in through the tip of my nose and my chest lifting. If I want, I can feel the movement of my chest and maybe my stomach as well when I put my hands down. When I exhale through the loosely parted lips, my chest sinks again, the breath flows calmly. I now try to breathe deeper into my stomach with every breath without exerting myself. I breathe deeper and more evenly, my flanks widen with every breath, my abdominal wall gently rises when I breathe in and sinks when I breathe out. I focus on the direction of my breathing for about 6 breaths. Then I breathe normally for a few breaths. Then I breathe in deeply into the flanks again, counting up to 4, holding the breath in relaxed after inhaling, and then let the air flow out quickly through the opened lips. There may be a slight breathing sound when you exhale. All tension is released when you exhale. I can take 2-3 breaths of the second exercise. "

Read more on the topic: Breathing exercises

How do you relax the diaphragm?

Bad posture, stress, and shallow breathing can cause our diaphragms to cramp up and work less well. For physiological (abdominal) breathing, however, it is essential that this important muscle supports inhalation. The diaphragm is also important for the posture of our spine.

In order to loosen our diaphragm and at the same time to make it functionally active, certain breathing exercises are recommended. Exercises in the seat should be discussed here, as these can also be incorporated into everyday office life and support the relaxation of breathing:

From the upright seat, with both feet firmly under the knees, the pelvis and back straightened, you reach for the left side of the chair with your right hand and hold on tight. The left hand stretches slightly to the right side far above the head, the entire left side becomes long and stretches. The breath should now flow into the far left side of the chest. You can feel the side stretching and loosening. The breath flows in through the nose and flows out again through the mouth, breathing is calm and at its own pace. Then do the exercise on the other side. Each side can be practiced for about 1-2 minutes. Before changing sides, it makes sense to take a short break to avoid hyperventilation (tingling in the mouth or fingers - urgently pause the exercise).

Read more on the topic: Diaphragmatic breathing

Breathing exercises for panic attacks

A panic attack is represented by a sudden, intense fear. The fear is relatively undirected, but can often relate to one's own body and is accompanied by physical symptoms such as palpitations, accelerated breathing, cold sweat. In order to suppress the increasing fear, it can be helpful to concentrate on your calmly flowing breath, to force yourself to breathe evenly and deeply through targeted exercises. However, breathing alone may not be enough to regulate panic attacks.

Read more on the topic: Panic attack

Rapid, violent breaths can lead to hyperventilation, which can be quite threatening for the patient. Here it can help to breathe in a bag for a short period of time to counteract hyperventilation. For patients with frequent panic attacks, it can be useful to practice "emergency breathing exercises" to calm them down. It is useful to consult a doctor or psychologist.

Read more on the topic: Hyperventilation

Duration and frequency of use

Breathing exercises for relaxation can always be done if it feels good. At the beginning it may be useful to learn exercises in a calm environment in order to be able to use them successfully in everyday life. Breathing exercises can provide a little break and relaxation in everyday life within 2-3 minutes, but they can also be used as part of general relaxation exercises. Deeper, stronger breathing should not be done for more than 2-3 minutes to avoid hyperventilation. After a short break in which you can breathe normally, you can start another round of breathing exercises.