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Benefits & Methods of Deep Breathing

It is widely accepted that a habit of breathing long, slow, deep breaths has a beneficial effect on the body, including:

  • decreased production of release of cortisol, the stress hormone

  • reduced perception of emotion stress

  • lowered blood pressure

  • slower heart rate

  • improved sleep

  • increased capacity to deal with depression and anxiety

  • increased ability to remain calm during crises

  • relaxed muscles and reduction of tension held in the body

  • release of repetitive thoughts

  • easier ability to meditate

As a tool used in individual and couples counseling, deep breathing helps you remain grounded and fearless in asking for what you need in relationships, and able to take in information without over-reacting or reflexively judging the other person's intention.

A Step by Step Guide for Deep Breathing

  1.  Close your eyes so that you can focus entirely on the sensations of breathing

  2.   Inhale while slowly, mentally, counting to 4

  3.   Pay attention to how your lungs and belly feel as they fill with air

  4.   Exhale while slowly, mentally counting to 4

  5.   Pay attention how your body relaxes as air is expelled

  6.   Inhale again to the count of 4

  7.   Imagine drawing energy up from earth as you breathe in

  8.   Exhale to the count of 4

  9.   Image releasing energy back down into the earth as you breathe out

  10.   Repeat these steps, increasing the counts from 4 to 6 and beyond as comfortable

Advanced Therapeutic Breathing

  1.  Begin with the basic steps as outlined above

  2.  After step 9 above, on the next long slow deep inhale, imagine breathing in the strongest sense of love you can imagine or have ever felt

  3. On the next long slow deep exhale, imagine breathing out all the care and compassion you have for the people  most important to you 

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