Eastern Michigan University

Breathing Exercises

This breathing exercise has been found to be effective in reducing anxiety, depression, irritability, muscle tension, fatigue, and daily life stress. While diaphragmatic breathing can be learned in a few minutes with immediate benefits, persistent practice will produce maximum results.

  1. Make yourself as comfortable as possible in your favorite chair, on the floor, in bed or wherever you feel comfortable. Loosen tight clothing, uncross legs and arms, and close your eyes.
  2. Bring attention to your breathing and place one hand over your stomach and one hand over your chest.
  3. Inhale through your nose and exhale from your mouth.
  4. Concentrate on taking long, slow, deep breaths that raise and lower your abdomen, but not your chest. Focus on the sound of your breathing as you feel yourself becoming more relaxed.
  5. Continue deep breathing and count to four on the next inhalation. Count to four as you exhale.
  6. Repeat this procedure of four counts in and four counts out until you have completed this process four times for four complete sets.
  7. Keep your breathing slow and steady.
  8. Be patient with yourself if you are having a hard time achieving deep breathing—it gets easier with practice!

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