Harvard Health Publishing

We’ve all had one of those days: overworked and overstressed, with no immediate relief in sight. Obviously, a quick getaway for a day of rest and relaxation isn’t always an option, especially when working on a tight deadline. So, what can you do to get yourself calm and collected amidst all of this stress? The answer may be as simple as breathing.  These five breathing exercises will have you relaxed in 10 minutes or less.

Nose Breathing Isn’t Just For Nerds

By focusing on our breathing, we can help lower our blood pressure and increase our feeling of calmness. You can do the following exercise in just a few minutes while sitting at your desk. Breathe in through your nose for a count of four, then breathe out through your nose for the same count. By inhaling and exhaling for equal amounts of time, you increase your focus and calm your nervous system.

A Muscle-Relaxation Train

This exercise allows you to relax mentally and physically. Take a few deep breaths first, then breathe in and tense your feet muscles. Breathe out and release the tension in your feet muscles. Next, breathe in and tense your calf muscles. Breathe out and release the tension in your calf muscles. Continue doing this with each group of muscles all the way to your head and face.

Visualize That Cabin In the Woods

While breathing normally, close your eyes and go straight to your happy place. Think of pleasant images, whether it’s from your favorite vacation spot or a fond childhood memory. You’ll replace your negative and stressful thoughts with these positive images, allowing you to calm down and de-stress.

The Lion’s Roar

While comfortably seated at your desk, breathe in through your nose. You want to fill your body completely with air. When you’re completely filled up, open your mouth as wide as possible and breathe out just like a lion would. Vocalize an “ahhh” as you breathe out. Do this several times and you’ll feel less stressed.

Breathing From Your Belly

Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly. Breathe deeply through your nose and fill your lungs completely with air. Try to do up to ten of these deep breaths per minute for 10 minutes. Even during a busy and stressful day, this will help reduce your heart rate and lower your blood pressure.