Join us for the upcoming live webinar on ‘How to Empower Parents of Struggling Teens in Your Organization’. RSVP  


Find Your Way to Relaxation With Belly Breathing

By: Tara Cousineau
Find Your Way to Relaxation with Belly Breathing BP

It may sound weird, but the simple act of breathing is an easy way to restore the body to a calm state. Belly breathing – or diaphragmatic breathing (breathing through your diaphragm) – is especially helpful. When you’re stressed out or anxious, a typical reaction is to start taking shorter breaths. Think about speaking in front of an audience, asking someone for a date, or any situation that might make you nervous. It’s likely that you held your breath, took short breaths, and you may have started to sweat or feel your heart thump. That’s a typical stress response.

By adulthood, this pattern of upper chest breathing may well turn into an unconscious habit. (Think about all the stressed-out adults you know.) Literally, you could shortchange your body with this inefficient way of circulating 02.

Easy Breathing

Here are three easy steps to boost your oxygen flow and de-stress:

  1. Lie on your back and close your eyes. Bring awareness to your regular breathing pattern.
  2. Rest your hands above your belly button with fingertips touching gently or place a book (like a phone book) on your belly.
  3. Take a long inhale and notice your belly rise up as you fill your lower lungs. Exhale slowly. You’ll notice your belly sink back toward your spine as you release your breath.

Now, concentrate on taking deeper, longer breaths and let your exhale linger a moment or two longer than the inhales.

Do this breathing exercise for several minutes or longer and notice any changes. Better yet, practice this every day and before any situation that makes you nervous.

You can try variations of this exercise. Imagine that all the stress and tension is leaving your body with every exhale. Or visualize yourself on a warm beach or taking in an awesome mountaintop view while you breath in and out slowly. Soon you’ll feel more relaxed, grounded, and better able to take on new challenges or deal with daily hassles.

And guess what? Your breath is something you never leave home without. Just remember to use it.

This article is republished from Bodimojo’s website with their permission.

Photo by Cynthia Magana on Unsplash

About the Author

Tara Cousineau

Psychologist, Research Scientist, Author

Clinical psychologist at Harvard University, research scientist and author of The Kindness Cure, specializing in positive coping strategies.

Share with your community

Sign up for our Newsletter

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter on the latest industry updates, Rethink happenings, and resources galore.

Related Resources


As we enter the month of April, a time recognized for highlighting autism, I invite us...


It is well understood that embracing neurodiversity in the workplace fosters inclusion and innovation. Recognizing this,...


In June as we celebrate the LGBTQ community, we also need to be aware of people...