6 Breathing Techniques for Stress Relief and Emotional Grounding

and breathe neon sign on greenery
Photo by Valeriia Bugaiova on Unsplash

Military life + mom life + pandemic + protesting + whatever else you are dealing with = one big ball of anxiety!

When my mind starts to race, I find it extremely helpful to ground myself with these six simple breathing techniques. Each of these techniques can be done standing, sitting, or lying down. Just do what makes you comfortable. 

woman sitting on dock breathing
Photo by Le Minh Phuong on Unsplash

Measured Breath

Breathe in slowly through your nose for a count of four. Make sure you keep your shoulders relaxed and allow your stomach to expand as you inhale. Hold your breath for 2 seconds. Release the air through loosely parted lips for seven seconds.

Energy Flow Breathing

As you slowly breathe in through your nose, imagine the air is a light golden liquid being poured into your lungs. Pull your stomach muscles outward to create a large reservoir for this energizing flow to run into. Feel the air filling your lungs from the bottom to the top. Inhale every last bit of air you can into your lungs. Pause for a few seconds as you imagine your body draining the golden light from your lungs and replacing it with black smoke representing the emotional and physical toxins your body is currently holding. Forcefully blow the air out, pushing up with your gut muscles to empty the lungs from bottom to top. Imagine the black smoke flying away from you, taking the negative thoughts and feelings with it.

Lions Breath

Sit, stand, or kneel in a comfortable position. Straighten your spine and roll your shoulders back. Bend your elbows and place your hands next to your shoulders with the fingers balled in a tight fist. Take a deep breath in through your nose with your eyes closed. Open your eyes and mouth wide, stick out your tongue, open your fingers wide, and breathe out forcefully with a loud AAAAAA growl. Feel free to giggle 😉

Take 5 Breathing

Hold one hand out, palm up, with the fingers spread. With the index finger of your other hand, trace up the side of your thumb as you breathe in, then down the other side of your thumb as you breathe out. Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Repeat 5 breaths tracing up and down each finger. Repeat on the alternate hand.

woman with eyes closed and in pray positionAlternate Nostril Breathing

Place the middle three fingers of your hand across your forehead with your thumb and pinky hovering next to either side of your nose. Use your thumb to plug one nostril as you breathe in. Once you have completed your inhale hold for one second as you release your thumb and plug the opposite nostril with your pinky. Breathe out then back in before once again switching to release the pinky and plug the thumb side.

Bumble Bee Breathing

Close your throat slightly so that you can hear the air moving through your windpipe. Plug your ears with your thumb and close your eyes, covering them with your fingers if desired. Keep your lips closed but your teeth slightly apart. Breathe in deeply, then make a low humming as you breathe out. Focus on the sound and feel of your breath to calm the mind and shut out external stimuli.

I hope these breathing techniques help you stay calm and centered. If you want to check out a few other grounding methods, check out my post “Staying Grounded During Times of Stress and Change” on Muchness Mama.