Breathing correctly: breathing exercises for more peace and relaxation

A woman sits on the sofa with her eyes closed and her arms folded behind her head, taking deep breaths

Breathing correctly has to be learned. Because most of the time we breathe incorrectly without knowing it. Breaths become shorter and shallower, especially when you are stressed or overworked. Yet consciously taking a breath is the easiest way to relieve stress and relax. How it works? With these breathing exercises and practical tips for everyday life!

Contents at a glance

Breathe deeply

When our thoughts are racing because we are worried or in the middle of an exam situation, we find it difficult to breathe properly – we literally lose our breath. We breathe shallowly and superficially, feel lacking in energy or get headaches because the body is not sufficiently supplied with oxygen. Just then a deep breath can relax us again and give us new energy. But it’s not only in stressful situations that we find it difficult to breathe properly. Even in everyday life, we usually do not use our entire lung volume. But what does correct breathing actually look like?

The right breathing technique

Basically, if you breathe through your nose, you breathe more easily and for longer periods of time. A distinction is also made between abdominal and diaphragmatic breathing on the one hand and chest breathing on the other – between the correct and incorrect breathing techniques:

Chest and shoulder breathing: If one breathes short and shallow, it is because only the chest and shoulders are involved in breathing. Instead of using the entire lung volume, only the upper part of the lung is supplied with oxygen. Tiredness, headaches and concentration problems can be consequences of this breathing. Even anxiety and panic can be aggravated by this superficial breathing.

Abdominal and diaphragmatic breathingWhen we talk about proper breathing, we mean this breathing technique. It’s also called "full breathing" because the entire chest and abdomen are involved in breathing and the entire lung volume is used. When we breathe in, the diaphragm pushes into the abdomen, which bulges outwards as a result. The body absorbs the most oxygen with this breathing technique. Breathing from the gut, however, is often only done during physical exertion or breathing difficulties – because then it is necessary to supply the body with plenty of oxygen.

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Learn to breathe correctly – with these three breathing exercises

Targeted breathing training will help improve your breathing over the long term. If you do the exercises regularly, you will be more aware of taking deeper, more even breaths in your everyday life. This will have the desired effect: you will gain inner peace and balance in the long term. Breathing exercises are at the same time the simplest and most effective relaxation techniques.

Place your hands on your chest and notice how the chest rises and falls as you breathe. Afterwards, with your hands on your belly, feel how it moves with your breathing. Finally, place your hands on the sides of your lower ribs and feel the ribs push outward as you breathe. During full breathing, the ideal form of breathing, there are clearly noticeable movements in all three areas.

Breathing exercise "4711" is not only easy to remember, it’s also simple. Sit or lie down relaxed. Breathe in for 4 seconds and out for 7. You repeat this 11 times. The exercise decelerates and can therefore also help if you have problems falling asleep.

The "bee buzzing" exercise comes from yoga and is called bhramarin there. Hum as you exhale with your lips closed like a bee. Vibration in the resonant spaces of the neck, chest and head improves blood circulation and relaxes the body and mind.

1. Sit up straight.

2. Close both ears with your thumbs. The remaining fingers can gently enclose the head.

3. Observe your breath for a few breaths.

4. Hum afterwards with the exhalation like a bee. At the same time, let your lips vibrate. Imagine you are playing the trumpet.

5. Hum several times and then feel how your body and mind feel

6 Tips for proper breathing in everyday life

Correct breathing cannot only be learned through special exercises – especially since a hectic daily routine full of to-do’s often does not allow for extended breathing training. Even small changes in behavior, exercise and repeated conscious breathing help to discard incorrect breathing techniques:

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