Breathing exercises can be one of the most useful resources to tap into to help decrease stress and anxiety. We already take over 20,000 breaths a day, and it’s something you can do anywhere at any time. Learning how to become conscious of and control your breathing is a truly beneficial skill to improve your physical and mental health.

In our current society much of our stress is internally perpetuated, as well as chronic, meaning that this abnormal state in our body persists, instead of returning to optimal function or homeostasis. Reduced digestion, increased blood sugar and blood pressure can lead to weight gain and increased risk of serious chronic conditions. Using breathing techniques can actually help turn off the parasympathetic nervous system and the fight or flight response, reducing respiration rate, heart rate and blood pressure and inducing a state of calm.

Alternate nostril breathing is a great technique for reducing anxiety, refocusing and inducing relaxation. It’s also a great breathing technique to calm the mind before doing meditation. In addition it can also be a quick and effective tool to help calm you down before a stressful situation such as a job interview or giving a presentation at work. This technique actually harmonizes both hemispheres of the brain, to bring the logical and emotional sides of our personality and is therapeutic to both our respiratory and circulatory system. Once you get used to this technique you can pull it out anywhere for quick stress management.