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Controlled breathing

... is the fastest, most effective way to trigger the relaxation response, enabling you to think more clearly and perform better under pressure.

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Shallow breathing

We loose the ability to breath deeply naturally as we age: deep breathing comes naturally to children, but we lose the ability because we’re in a constant state of fight-or-flight, low-level stress. Our breathing migrates up in our bodies; it's an anxious breath.

Navy Seal tricks

The Navy SEALs use 2 breathing techniques that force the body into a more relaxed state when they’re in a high-pressure situation:

  • Tactical breathing
  • Box breathing.

Is a technique to use when you feel yourself having a fight-or-flight response. It involves all your breathing muscles–from chest to belly.

  • Place your right hand on your belly, pushing out with a big exhale. Then breathe in through your nostrils, slowly drawing the breath upward from your belly to your upper chest.
  • Pause and exhale, starting from your chest and moving downward to the air in your belly. Imagine your belly button touching your spine.
  • Once you’re comfortable with a full, deep breath, repeat it, this time making the exhale twice as long as the length of the inhale. 

It’s meant to ground you, sharpen your concentration, and leave you feeling alert but calm

  • Push the air out of your chest, keeping your lungs empty for the count of four. Then start the tactical breathing, inhaling through your nose for a count of four, drawing air into your belly and moving up into your chest. Hold the air in your lungs for a count of four.
  • The movement should feel fluid and open. Exhale smoothly, starting at the chest and moving to the belly, for four slow counts. Complete the box with a pause of four before beginning another repetition.
  • Continue this technique for five minutes.

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Abdominal Breathing Technique
How it’s done: With one hand on the chest and the other on the belly, take a deep breath in through the nose, ensuring the diaphragm inflates with enough air to create a stretch in the lungs. The goal: 6 to 10 deep, slow breaths per minute for 10 minutes each day to experience immediate reductions to heart rate and blood pressure.

When it works best: Before an exam, or any stressful event.

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IDEAS

  1. Sit up tall, and relax your shoulders. 
  2. Keep your mouth closed and inhale rapidly through your nose with quick, short breaths (exhale quickly as well). 
  3. Try doing that for about 10 seconds
  4. Take a 15-30 second break and breathe normally. Repeat several times.
Deep, controlled breathing

It involves filling the lungs to the max and goes by various names like belly or diaphragmatic breathing.

It has been linked to improved cognitive performance, lower stress levels, and lower blood pressure.