We are offering a weekly blog series with a collection of diverse and effective coping techniques and exercises that can help reduce stress, improve mental and emotional well-being, and perhaps make you even more effective in achieving your individual goals. Check back every Wednesday for the newest skill of the week. Try them all out and find what works best for you.

This week, Dr. Erin Jacklin, PsyD recommends using Abdominal Breathing: 

“Abdominal breathing is a simple and effective way to achieve relaxation and stress reduction. It’s something you can do for yourself anytime anywhere” 

Place one hand on your stomach and one on your chest. See if they both rise when you breathe in or just one of them rises. You don’t need to do anything in particular at this time. Just see which hand is rising and pay attention to it. Notice if you naturally breathe with your abdomen, chest or both.

Breathe in slowly through your nose for the count of 5 seconds. Try to breathe in such a way that the hand on your stomach rises, and the hand on your chest only rises a little. This is called abdominal breathing.

Once you breathe in, hold your breath for 5 seconds, and then breathe out through your mouth for 5 seconds. If 5 seconds is too much or too little, you can adjust the time to suit you.

Continue breathing in this way for 5 minutes, counting 5 seconds as you breathe in, holding for 5 seconds and exhaling for 5 seconds.