Breathing technique to help relieve stress & increase focus

Breathing technique to help relieve stress & increase focus

18th July 2018

The UK Government have recorded an annual £5.2 billion lost to businesses due to work related stress, anxiety and depression. Fortunately a very simple breathing technique can help your employees to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety and in tern improve focus. The breath is a wonderful tool as each of us has access to it all the time and of course, at no cost.

The relationship between the breath and how we feel
There is a very interesting relationship between how we’re breathing and how we feel. For example, when we are experiencing stress we tend to take quick shallow breaths into the chest, however we can also make our minds and bodies experience stress by breathing in this way.

Breathing like this can cause hyperventilation, meaning the body is receiving too much oxygen and expelling too much carbon dioxide – more than the body can make. This is what’s happening when one starts to feel tingling, dizziness, weakness or even faints.

On the other side, when we’re calm and relaxed we tend to take deep, slow breaths right down into the abdomen and by controlling the breath in this way when feeling stressed, we can start to calm down the mind and body.

The breathing  technique
The following breathing technique is a great tool to share with your employees to help them to calm themselves if they tend to feel particularly stressed or anxious (for example, before big meetings or presentations) or if they’re struggling to focus throughout the day.

The technique is recommended by the NHS for stress relief and is also a yoga breath control (pranayama) practice.

This can be practiced anywhere (including at an office desk) and done either standing up, sat down or lying on the back. If practicing sitting down in a chair ensure that both feet are on the floor.

  • Allow the spine to be straight, shoulders relaxed down the back and head facing forwards
  • Inhale through the nose, filling up and expanding the abdomen (the belly) as much as is comfortable, without forcing
  • Exhale through the mouth, with lips slightly parted, allowing the abdomen to draw in lightly
  • Breathe in and out with a regular, steady flow, focusing on your breath with inhales and exhales at the same length
  • Do this for 3-5 minutes daily and / or whenever feeling particularly stressed

Continue to breathe in this way throughout the day however breathing in and out through the nose only. It can be hard to remember to do this at first but by checking in and returning to this breath whenever possible it becomes second nature over time.

If you’ve had any breathing techniques taught in your business please comment below, it would be great to hear what has helped your employees.

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