This was originally posted on Humanergy’s leadership blog on July 18, 2012. We felt this post on reducing stress through the breath would be especially helpful in view of the current crisis. 

If you find yourself feeling tense, there is something you can do that is quick, effective and requires no special equipment. If you are like most people, you regularly breathe in short bursts, from the chest up. To reduce stress, the first step is to change the way you’re breathing.

Follow these easy steps for almost-instant stress reduction:

1. Breathe naturally for one minute, focusing only on your breath. If thoughts encroach, note them and go back to focusing on your breathing.

2. Notice how you are sitting, and sit up taller. Let any stiffness or tightness in your body fade away with each exhale.

3. Exhale longer, counting slowly to 6 for each exhale. Breathe in this way for several minutes.

Want a 5-minute guided breathing exercise? Check out this video by the Mayo Clinic.

Breathing deeply pays dividends over time – reducing stress, alleviating pain and improving sleep. It sure beats the method often used to combat stress – working faster and harder. As Harry Emerson Fosdick said, “No one can get inner peace by pouncing on it.”

Got an amazing tip or need some help managing stress/developing resilience? Comment below or message Humanergy.

Photo by Freshh Connection on Unsplash