Can breathing techniques help me reduce stress?

Dr. Vonda Wright, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
At any stressful point during the day, you can instantly lower your blood pressure and relax right where you are. When you breathe slowly through your nose, a gas called nitric oxide is released from your nasal passages into the bloodstream. This gas acts on the blood vessels to dilate them and lowers your blood pressure naturally. You will have moments of relaxation.

Stop reading, close your eyes, and breathe slowing through your nose for a count of ten. Exhale slowly through your mouth the same way. Repeat this 5-10 times.

Use this technique whenever you need a little breather. Under chronic stress, you take shallow breaths and may even hold them. This causes shunting of blood to the brain and makes you more alert, but it makes the kidneys less effective at filtering the salt out of your blood and explains why chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure.
Dr. Vonda Wright's Guide to Thrive: 4 Steps to Body, Brains, and Bliss

More About this Book

Dr. Vonda Wright's Guide to Thrive: 4 Steps to Body, Brains, and Bliss

Dr. Wright unfolds her Guide to Thrive by preparing readers for six remarkable months of body, brains, and bliss transformation, using her framework of the four practical steps. As a scientist and...
Dr. Kathleen Hall
Preventive Medicine
Research shows us that breathing techniques affects us by altering the pH of the blood, or changing blood pressure.  You can train your body’s reaction when you are experiencing stress to lower the production of stress hormones.  Slow deep breathing stimulates the parasympathetic system, this is the system that calms our mind and body.  Deep breathing puts the brakes on the stress response.

Continue Learning about Teen Perspective: Stress and Depression

How can I control my anger as a teen?
Raychelle C. Lohmann, MS, LPCRaychelle C. Lohmann, MS, LPC
The Steps to Teen Anger ManagementFirst, kudos to you for asking the question. You’ve just pass...
More Answers
As a teen, how do I stop cutting myself?
Sheri Van DijkSheri Van Dijk
Cutting yourself, or physically hurting yourself in other ways, gets the endorphins going in your br...
More Answers
Why Do Some Teens Cut Themselves?
Why Do Some Teens Cut Themselves?
As a Teen, How Do I Stop Cutting Myself?
As a Teen, How Do I Stop Cutting Myself?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.