The Best Breathing Techniques for Stress Relief

Do you have a lot of stress? It's no surprise if you do because life is stressful. In the past year alone, 74% of people reported stress levels that are so high that they're unable to cope and often feel overwhelmed. However, the best breathing techniques for stress relief can help you calm your nerves and put life back into perspective.

But many people don't know much about how changing your breathing in certain ways can help. No one learns how to adapt their breathing in school to deal with stress.

Luckily, we're going to outline the breathing techniques that you can start using today to tackle your stress. Try these methods out for yourself to find the one that best helps you get rid of stress.

4 Breathing Techniques for Stress Relief

1. 4-7-8 Technique

the best breathing techniques for stress relief person practicing 4-7-8 belly breathing technique close up

Perhaps one of the best breathing techniques to learn first is called the 4-7-8 technique. Of course, you'll want to learn belly breathing before using this technique, and that's the next technique on our list.

You can perform this breathing exercise at your desk or while trying to fall asleep at night.


  1. Put your left hand on your belly.
  2. Put your right hand on your chest.
  3. Breathe through your belly, taking a deep breath and counting to four when breathing in.
  4. Hold your breath for seven seconds.
  5. Exhale for eight seconds.

You'll want to repeat this breathing exercise multiple times until you find that your stress has disappeared.

2. Belly Breathing Technique 

Learning how to breathe from your belly is crucial if you're trying to master breathing techniques. Studies show that belly breathing can lead to relaxation, and it's a very easy way to breathe your stress away.

If you need to relax, try the following:

  1. Sit or lie down – just be comfortable.
  2. Place one hand right under your ribs on your belly.
  3. Place one hand on your chest.
  4. Breathe through your nose. Your belly should push your hand and your chest shouldn't move.
  5. Purse your lips (so it looks like you're whistling) and breathe out. Your belly should go down as you push the air out of your lungs.

Deep breaths work best with this breathing technique. It's crucial that you focus on your breathing the entire time until you truly master breathing through your belly.

Continue breathing using belly breathing for 10 breaths or until you feel yourself relax.

3. Modified Lion's Breath Technique

Do you want to imagine that you're a fierce lion? If not, you should because it's the perfect way to get started with this breathing exercise. The concept is rather simple, too:

  1. Sit down.
  2. Breathe through your nose, filling your belly with air.
  3. When you're as filled with air as you can possibly be, it's time to open your mouth as wide as a lion’s mouth.
  4. Breathe out of your open mouth and make a "ha" sound the entire time.

Pretty simple. Right? You'll want to complete these steps numerous times to free yourself of stress and anxiety.

Of course, if you're trying to get rid of stress when you're in the office or classroom, this is the one breathing technique that you'll likely want to do in private, it can look kind of silly.

4. Roll Breathing Technique 

the best breathing techniques for stress relief person sitting in living room practicing breathing meditating

Roll breathing is one of the best ways to develop your lungs, and it's a very easy technique to begin. You'll want to maintain the same hand placement as we discussed during the belly breathing technique.

You'll be belly breathing, but this time, you're going to breathe for 3 to 5 minutes, doing the following:

  1. Breathe through your nose and out of your mouth 8 to 10 times. Focus on filling your lungs completely.
  2. Upon completion of the 8 to 10 breaths, inhale into your belly and then try and do the same to fill the upper chest. Breathe regularly and slowly at this time.
  3. Exhale slowly, making a "whooshing" sound. Tension should leave your body.

You'll want to perform this rolling technique until you feel relaxed and less stressed.

Final Thoughts

Once you master these basic breathing techniques for stress relief, you'll find yourself naturally doing them every time you feel stressed. If we missed your favorite breathing techniques, let us know in the comments below.

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