Some people simply can’t get into meditation and have no desire to learn. If you can’t fully shut your brain down or get bored trying to practice mindfulness or meditation, trust me, you’re not alone.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t calm anxieties or combat your stress by slowing down.

There’s a reason why people are told to take a deep breath when they’re feeling excited. Breathing can have a calming effect, and learning how to control it and performing breathing exercises may help calm nerves and reduce anxiety.

Yoga is often used as a meditative tool, and you might think it’s just about body movements. But breathing plays a key role in yoga’s benefits, and its breathing exercises may be an effective calming tool for people who have trouble with mindfulness or sitting still.

Deep belly breathing is one breathing exercise you can try. It utilizes the diaphragm to expand the lungs so air moves deep into you fully. Either sit in a chair or lie on the floor. Place one hand on your chest and the other just below the rib cage. Slowly breathe in through your nose for five seconds. Feel your stomach rise as the air moves in before slowly exhaling for a five-count.

Breath retention is another exercise that may help calm the nerves. It involves holding your breath without inhaling or exhaling immediately. It can be a little uncomfortable, but practice will help.

Sit down, keeping your back straight. Breathe in through your nose for five seconds and hold it in your lungs for 10 seconds. Slowly exhale through your mouth once the 10 seconds are up. Take a few regular breaths, then do it again. Repeat a few times to see if it helps calm you down.

Mindfulness might be popular, but it certainly isn’t for everybody. Try these breathing techniques to help deal with stress and calm anxieties.

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