Breathing Techniques for Stress Relief

In mental health by Tree House Recovery

Breathing is something that our body does automatically in order to keep us alive. If you take a minute to tune into your breath when you’re feeling relaxed, you’ll notice that your breathing patterns are slow and steady. Likewise, if you notice your breath while you’re angry or anxious, it’s likely shallow, forced, and quick. Our mental state and our breathing are inextricably linked. In early recovery, we need all of the stress-reducing techniques possible. When we take time to tune into our breath and practice deep, intentional breathing, we can reduce anxiety and stress. Here are a few breathing techniques to help you cope with these difficult feelings.

Deep belly breathing. Shallow breathing, which happens in the chest, is triggered when we’re constricted, stressed, and anxious. Deep breathing can get us out of fight or flight mode and into rest and digest, where our minds and bodies can actually relax. Take three to five minutes and deeply inhale through your nose and slowly exhale. Notice your belly rise and fill with breath on the inhale and fall on this exhale. Deep breathing happens in the diaphragm, belly, and the chest, so that our whole bodies are filling up with oxygen.

Take equal inhales and exhales. Keep breathing deeply into the belly and count to five on the inhale. As you release the breath, let it be the same length as the inhale. Focus on all parts of the breath — the inhale, the pause, and the exhale. Let your worries melt away with each exhale.

Lion’s breath. Lion’s breath is a powerful and simple technique to release tension and stress. It’s a great practice for when you’re feeling overwhelmed and need to access your inner power. Take a deep inhale through the nose and feel the belly fill up with air. Exhale out through the mouth and make an “ahh” sound while sticking out your tongue. Repeat this a few more times. Feel your tension melt away and embrace your centered power.


Tree House Recovery of Portland, Oregon uses cutting-edge techniques in individualized programs to help men achieve freedom from addiction. Taking a holistic, sustainable approach to the inner and outer effects of addiction ensures you or your loved one will emerge with the confidence and skills to manage your addiction independently. No one is beyond help- our Admissions Counselors are available 24/7 at  (503) 850-2474