Everybody has to manage some stress in their lives. Many people struggle with anxiety which will lead to stress and often that stress will lead to anxiety. This then becomes a vicious cycle that is hard to get out of.
Whether you need to combat stress or manage your anxiety “Breathing Exercises” will be a beneficial tool to add to your life skills tool belt.
Why Breathing Exercises?
There is power in breath. God breathed life into the nostrils of Adam.
Genesis 2:4 ~ ”Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” — NIV
In the book of Job we learn more about breath.
Job 33:4 ~ “The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life [which inspires me].” — AMP
Deep breathing exercises are exceptionally effective to combat stress and in addition they help us manage our anxiety. Breathing exercises release tension from our bodies and helps us clear our minds. The result is an improvement in both our physical, emotional and mental wellness. When we add meditating on scripture we gain improvement in our spiritual wellness too.
Throughout our day we tend to breathe shallow or we hold our breath when we are feeling stressed or anxious. Shallow breathing limits your oxygen intake as it only fills the upper area of our lungs with air. This adds further stress to your body.
The health benefits we gain from breathing exercises are:
1. Combat stress and provides relief from stress
2. Helps strengthen our immune system
3. Helps with the healing process in all aspects of our lives
5. Helps to calm us.
6. Increased cardiovascular capacity
7. Improved heart health
8. Mood elevation
9. Helps us to sleep better
A test? — no one likes or wants to do a test. Rest assured this test is easy and is a demonstration of how we breathe.
I want you to stop for a moment and put your hands on your belly. It’s ok if your sitting or lying down. Now I want you to just breathe normally. Look down at your hands. Are they moving? You may have a little movement, however most of you will notice that your hands barely even budge.
Now I want you to keep your hands on your belly but instead of breathing normally I want you to take a deep breath through your nose (a count of 3-5). Then exhale through your mouth as if you are blowing. Did you see the difference?
Exercise # 1 to Combat Stress – Need to Relax
The first exercise I want to share with you is beneficial to do when you need to relax and combat stress.
Get comfortable in your chair. Loosen any tight and uncomfortable clothing. Let your arms rest loosely at your side. Allow yourself a few moments to relax.
Take a moment to notice your breathing, gradually slowing down the rate of inhaling and exhaling as you become more comfortable. (Pause)
Now relax and enjoy the feeling. (Pause).
Close your mouth and relax your shoulders – release any tension that you are holding. (Pause).
Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose.
Let the air that you breathe in push your stomach out. Hold your breath as you slowly count to 3.
Breathe out slowly through your mouth as you count from 1-6.
Repeat breathing in and breathing out 5 times.
Now as you blow out, silently and calmly repeat to yourself whichever scripture(s) you are wanting to meditate on (or affirmation). If you haven’t already you can close your eyes as you repeat your chosen verse.
I like to use – if God is for me, who can be against me — I can do all things through Christ who strengths me — I do not fear because God is always with me.
Continue with this several times.
If you have closed your eyes, gently open them. (Pause).
End your time with prayer.
You have completed the first exercise.
Exercise #2 to Combat Stress – Belly Breathing
This second exercise that we can do to help combat stress and manage anxiety is very similar to the test that I had you previously do.
Get comfortable – you can either sit or you can lie down.
Place one hand on your belly – just below your ribs. Place your other hand on your chest.
Take a deep breath through your nose (your belly should push your hand out – your other hand should not move). Hold breath for 3-5 seconds. Exhale through your mouth – as if you are blowing up a balloon (your hand on your belly should move). Repeat 4-6 times. End your time in prayer.
Father God, Thank you for the body that you gave me. I pray that You will give me the knowledge and wisdom that I need to take care of it. Thank you for breath and for the ability to manage stress and anxiety with breathing. I pray that You will lead me to scriptures that will encourage me as well as bring me relief. Sometimes life can be so overwhelming. I am grateful that You are always with me. Please remind me of this when I stumble and fall. Lord, I desire to honor You in all aspects of my life. I lay at your feet my stress and my anxiety and I exchange it with Your peace. I love You. In Jesus’ name ~~ amen
Additional Resources to Combat Stress and Anxiety
Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercise can help you with both managing anxiety and to combat stress.
I have collected 21 scriptures when you are struggling with anxiety.
Journaling can have a significant effect on your mental health You will find some guidance in starting a journal in the following post: How To Start A Journal And Enrich Your Mental Health.
Have you used deep breathing exercises before? What were the results for you? What are some additional ways that you have found helpful in combatting stress and anxiety? Please drop me a note in the comments.
Be blessed. 💞💞💞
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