I remember that for a while it seemed like every other K-pop song was called “Breathe” and there was this great emphasis on getting oxygen into the body. People couldn’t breathe or situations left them breathless.
It turns out that stressful situations can totally affect your respiratory system and ability to breathe! According to the American Psychological Association,
“Stress can make you breathe harder. That’s not a problem for most people, but for those with asthma or a lung disease such as emphysema, getting the oxygen you need to breathe easier can be difficult.
And some studies show that an acute stress — such as the death of a loved one — can actually trigger asthma attacks, in which the airway between the nose and the lungs constricts.”
But breathing isn’t just something that can be adversely affected by stress; it’s also a tool that you can use to help yourself feel better. Proper breathing techniques can also ward off anxiety issues and possible panic attacks.
If you find yourself really stressed out, I hope that one of these breathing exercises can help you out!
#1 – Relax And Breathe
If you’ve got 10 minutes to spare, this video uses shapes to help you bring your breathing under control. It even works so that you can adjust the speed settings if necessary. The clip combines soothing music with a simple representation of the breathing process. There are no flashy or bright colors — just everything you need to begin to relax.
#2 – Follow The Red Ball
Yes, I’m aware the colors scream “Mid-90s Internet.” But it’s the intention that counts!
For this video, you’ll follow a red globe as it moves around a purplish hoop. Inhale as the ball moves upward, and exhale as it heads down. The breathing process is symbolized by a bright pink shimmering circle that expands and contracts as you go through the exercise.
#3 – Inhale and hold your breath
In this video, a dark circle fills up the entire screen as you inhale. And then you’re asked to hold your breath for several seconds. You then slowly exhale as the circle gets smaller and smaller. The concept is slightly different from the other videos, but this type of exercise is great for bringing down your heart rate and anxiety levels.
Other Breathing-Related Tips!
- If you don’t have access to your phone and these videos but you want to do a breathing exercise anyway, just close your eyes and visualize a tiny ball that expands as you inhale (for a count of several seconds) and shrinks back to a tiny, pin-sized dot when you exhale. If you want to, you can hold the mental image of the inflated ball in your mind as you hold your breath. So:
- Inhale, slowly (count to 7)
- Hold your breath (count to 7)
- Exhale, slowly (count to 7)
- Try to find a quiet place if you can. If not, just stop what your doing, close your eyes and do a short breathing exercise.
- Consider making breathing exercises a part of your daily routine. Take a few minutes for yourself in the morning and again in the evening. Remember, breathing exercises aren’t strictly for stressful situations; you can do them whenever you feel like it!
- Even if you’re not big on yoga, yoga breathing exercises are a great way to help yourself feel calm and centered.
You can come back to this blog post whenever you need it, but more importantly, please remember that no source of stress is worth your mental and emotional health! Try to take good care of yourself and take a moment out of the day for your own peace of mind.