As you know, purposeful breathing is an excellent method of reducing stress and anxiety. By increasing the oxygen flow throughout your body, you can work to create a balanced body and restful mind. When you find yourself in situations of high stress, try one of these four breathing exercises:

#1: Breath Counting

This exercise is actually considered a form of meditation. To try it, you’ll want to find a comfortable place to sit with your spine straightened and your head tilted slightly forward. From there, you’ll start by taking some deep breaths and eventually begin counting each time you exhale. As you continue counting, you’ll find that your mind has cleared.

#2: Abdominal Breathing

If you’re preparing yourself for an upcoming stressful event, you may want to try this breathing exercise. To do it, you’ll place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Then, you’ll breathe in deeply through the nose until your diaphragm is inflated and you feel a stretching of the lungs. The slower you breathe, the better-so try shooting for between six and ten slow breaths a minute.

#3: The Stimulating Breath

As you might imagine, breathing exercises are often implemented in exercise routines. The “stimulating breath” exercise is actually an adaption from a yoga breathing technique that is designed to increase your energy and alertness. To practice it, you’ll breathe in and out through your nose, and quickly. In fact, you should shoot for three breath cycles per second for a total of fifteen seconds. Doing so can give you a quick and effective energy boost!

#4: Progressive Relaxation

As a method of releasing bodily tension, many people implement the practice of progressive relaxation into their daily routine. This breathing exercise will have you tense and relax different muscle groups-including the feet and toes, calves and thighs, arms and hands, etc.-while breathing slowly and deeply. You can do this while sitting at your work desk to eliminate the build of tension in your back or shoul-ders.

Next time you find yourself in need of a change of pace, try one of these four breathing exercises!