Breathing exercises are some of my favorite strategies for managing stress. When you’re stressed, you can use your breath to not only stay level-headed but actually change your mood or emotional state.
People often ask how long a breathing exercise or breathing practice should last.
My answer? There’s no magic number!
It isn’t about how many minutes you commit to your practice, it’s about how consistent you can be. So don’t put a time constraint on your practice, instead, set the goal to take deep, mindful breaths every day and make this practice a HABIT.
Here are some tips for helping your practice become a habit:
- Put a reminder on your phone.
- Put a post-it note reminder on the mirror.
- Make your breathing practice part of your morning or evening routine.
- Establish a cue. (i.e. Every time I hear the neighbor’s dog bark, I take some deep, mindful breaths.)
The more you work to make mindful breathing part of your routine, the better equipped your brain is to access this strategy during stressful situations, and the more you can feel in charge of your stress and emotions.