A deep breath can calm our minds. 


I watched one of Indonesia’s celebrities, Sophia Latjuba, on a TV talk show program a few years ago. She told us how applying deep breathing can manage her stress. Sophia does Yoga as her routine every day, and she learned Yoga breathing exercises called “pranayama” in Sanskrit. Practicing it regularly can calm and invigorate the body through breathing and will greatly benefit your life off the mat.

Her statement confused me; how can breathing (which is our regular activity) reduce our anger, stress, and madness? After conducting deep research, I found the answer to my ‘why’.

An anxious person has a short breath while in stress-pressure


For someone who is under stress, their breathing pattern changes. Typically, an anxious person takes small, shallow breaths, using their shoulders rather than their diaphragm to move air in and out of their lungs. This style of breathing disrupts the balance of gases in the body.

Photo Courtesy of Christian Erfurt

Sophia Latjuba told us to keep breathing when in an unwanted situation. Then I realized that sometimes people do something in a slap-bang. They overcomplicate simple things, which becomes intimidating. 

Shallow over-breathing, or hyperventilation, can prolong feelings of anxiety by making the physical symptoms of stress worse. Controlling your breathing can help to improve some of these symptoms.


A deep breath can calm our mind 

I found a fact from Better Health that breathing is an automatic function of the body that the respiratory center of the brain controls. When we feel stressed, our breathing rate and pattern change as part of the ‘fight-or-flight response.’

Photo Courtesy of Erik Brolin 

Fortunately, we also have the power to change our breathing deliberately. Scientific studies have shown that controlling your breath can help to manage stress and stress-related conditions. Breath control is also used in Yoga, Tai Chi, and some forms of meditation. Many people use their breathing to help promote relaxation and reduce stress.

By controlling your breath, you calm your mind and bring awareness to the present moment. This awareness is the heart of yoga. In yoga, it is believed that you can bring positive changes to your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being by consciously practicing breath control exercises.

How to add breathing exercises to your day

Photo Courtesy of Prakteek Jaiswal


Breathing exercises don’t have to take a lot of time out of your day. It’s just about setting aside some time to pay attention to your breathing. Here are a few ideas to get started:

1. Begin with just 5 minutes a day, and increase your time as the exercise becomes easier and more comfortable.
2. If 5 minutes feels too long, start with just 2 minutes.
3. Practice multiple times a day. Schedule set times or practice conscious breathing as you feel the need.

This simple breathing technique makes you slow down your breathing pace by applying deliberate effort in each breath. You can practice pursed-lip breathing at any time. It may be especially useful during activities such as bending, lifting, or stair climbing. Practice using this breath 4 to 5 times a day when you begin to learn the breathing pattern correctly.

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