No matter how hard we may try to avoid falling victim to the woes of stress, it can seem like an undefeatable challenge some days. Between the morning and evening commute, the transit delays, the angry passengers, the pile of deadlines, and not enough time to simply relax – we can often forget just to breathe.

If you want to defend yourself against the stress, the aggravation, and the fury of over-worked commuters who sometimes like to take their frustrations out on you, start by putting yourself first. That means starting your day off with some personal, quiet time in the mornings and de-stressing with these breathing techniques.

Relaxing Breath

If total relaxation is what you seek, this breathing technique is a must. To begin, try to get into a comfy sitting position with a straight back posture. Keep your tongue on the gum line behind your upper front teeth – this will create a whooshing” sound as you begin to exhale. Inhale through the nose for a count of four and hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale fully on a count of eight. Continue to do this beginning with 5 breaths and gradually increasing each day.

Stimulating Breath

Believe it or not, breathing can also help to sharpen your senses and relax you as well. For this exercise, sit in any position that feels comfortable to you. Close your mouth and begin to inhale and exhale quickly through your nose. The goal is to keep both inhales and exhales equal and subtle. Begin daily with no more than 15 seconds of this technique. Gradually you can work on increasing it further each time. This will help to relax and revitalize you all at the same time.

Abdominal Breathing

If you feel as though your breathing is quite shallow, this particular exercise can be perfect for helping you improve your debt of breath and calm your mind and body. To begin, place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. This allows you to pay attention to how you’re breathing. Focus on breathing through your belly and diaphragm rather than your chest. Inhale through your nose and really focus on filling and expanding your diaphragm full of air. Exhale slowly through your mouth pushing out every last bit of air that you can. Repeat this gradually for about 10 minutes to really feel the benefit of ultimate relaxation.

Conquering stress and the demands of everyday life is a challenge that may of us choose to ignore. But for the health and well-being of your body and mind, it’s important to address it and find ways to decompress and relax. So each morning or evening, find some quiet time to incorporate some of these relaxing breathing techniques to help you unwind and de-stress.