5 mindful breathing tips to de-stress your day

Plus: Surprising health benefits to help you feel your best.

Watch a soothing San Diego sunset as you breathe deeply, exhaling tension and worry, while inhaling relaxation and comfort. Mindful breathing encourages you to stay in the present moment by focusing on your breath and paying attention to your mind and body. Follow these helpful tips to try a mindful breathing exercise on your own.

Mindful breathing benefits

Breathing exercises can help to make your lungs more efficient, the American Lung Association says. And when you do breathing exercises regularly, you can increase your oxygen levels and support your diaphragm, the muscle that helps move air in and out of your lungs.

Breathing exercises can also help to lower your blood pressure, decrease muscle tension and lower stress, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Here’s how to get started.


Start slowly.

When you first start to practice mindful breathing, you may only be able to focus for a minute or two at a time. A timer or a guided exercise, like this meditation video, can show you when to start and finish.


Find a quiet place to sit and relax.

Sit comfortably and rest your hands on your legs or at your sides. You can watch the video, close your eyes or look at something nearby.


Focus on your breathing.

Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, or breathe in whatever way feels most comfortable to you. Short, normal breaths are fine. Feel the way your breath moves in and out. Take a moment to notice where you can feel it in your body. You might feel it move from your nose to your throat and into your chest. Your shoulders could be rising and falling. Your belly might be moving in and out.


It’s OK to let your mind wander.

As you focus on your breathing, it’s normal for your mind to start wandering. When that happens, try bringing your attention back to your breath and focusing on the ways it moves through your body.


Take a moment to reflect.

Once the video ends or your timer goes off, take time to notice how your body feels. Do you feel more relaxed and rested? Do you feel less tense? As you continue practicing mindful breathing, it may be easier to recognize what feels different.

The more you practice mindful breathing, the easier it’ll be to focus on your breath and notice how it affects your mind and your body. For more mindfulness and wellness tips, check out our Well-Being Workshop and Best Health® 1-2-3 series.

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