Using the Breath to Calm and De-Stress

Breath Awareness


We often have many times during the day when life can be stressful, too busy, or overwhelming.


Consciously choosing to slow my breathing is one technique I find helpful in both my personal and professional life to stay grounded and centered.


As someone who might be considered very sensitive and empathic, I needed to find simple ways to stay calm and not get overwhelmed in certain environments or situations. When doing readings or sessions with clients, I can often feel their emotions and sometimes even physical sensations they might be experiencing.

If I find myself taking on their feelings or physical sensations, I need a quick way to release the emotions and physical symptoms so as not to let these feelings linger too long and affect my own energy and well-being.

If we remain unaware, as human beings we often begin calibrating our energy in a group situation, which could mean just 2 or more people. With conscious awareness, we can choose how to react or manage our bodies in various situations.

Sometimes the most loving thing we can do for ourselves and another is to be in awareness. In this state we are compassionate yet not necessarily matching their emotions or energy.

Body Awareness

Knowing your home state, or the times when your body is relaxed and at ease, gives you a template for knowing when you feel out of balance. For those of you who are sensitive, this may also happen when you are with others who are not centered. You may also notice feeling this way in environments that are crowded or chaotic.

Paying attention to the breath can bring awareness to when your body is feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or out of balance. One area I often notice this is my chest. For instance, I might begin taking on my client’s feeling of emotional pain. Initially this can be a sign for me to feel empathy, but I need to quickly shift emotions I might be feeling that are not mine.

Another common area we may feel tension or unease is the stomach or digestive area. Sometimes this might be felt as anxiety, tightness, or even queasiness. Checking in with our physical sensations and asking ourselves what is needed is key to being able to choose our reactions to situations.

Our decisions can then be made more consciously. We may choose to remove ourselves from certain situations or people in order to regain our calm and balanced state.

If uncomfortable feelings or physical sensations persist, it is always a good idea to consult with a healing practitioner such as a counselor or medical professional. There are times when we benefit from getting help from someone else.

Using the Breath

Slowly taking a few breaths in and slowly exhaling out can be done very quickly. It releases unwanted energy from your body that you may have taken in such as environmental stress from a crowded store or a phone call or conversation with a friend who is very emotional. Even being in close proximity to someone who is experiencing strong emotions may cause you to feel out of balance.

After taking in a few deep breaths and slowly exhaling, I immediately can feel the shift in my body from feeling tense or overwhelmed to calm and centered.

Depending upon the intensity, it may take me a few more moments of slow, intentional breathing to stay centered. If it can’t be easily done in the moment, it can be done afterward. I’ve done my slow breathing while shopping in Target, driving my car, during phone calls, or even during some in-person conversations with others.

Our physical body is connected to our energy body, or aura and chakras. (I will cover this topic in my future posts.) This unseen energy is just as important as our physical body.

Having an awareness of our feelings, emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations can help us to be in more balance and better cope with stress or overwhelm.

Taking the time to slow down and breathe intentionally brings us into presence. Sometimes we may not even know what triggers our physical reactions or feelings. Slowing our breath can calm the mind chatter and the body, allowing us the space we need to go within and reflect on what might be bothering us.

Once we begin this inner dialogue with ourselves, we can begin to use the practice of breath awareness to consciously choose to alter our state from stress to greater ease. It also becomes easier to get in touch with our true essence, that wise part of ourselves that knows we are loved, accepted, and possess tremendous inner strength and compassion.



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Using the Breath to Calm and De-Stress — 9 Comments

  1. Jeannette…Thank you for this wonderful blog posting. The breath is such an amazing way to sense our system and to learn what is going on within it. I so appreciate you mentioning that taking time to slow the breath down can bring us into presence. I know someone who is just beginning to meditate and work with the breath. I’ll send her this article. You articulate the process so well, I think she’ll enjoy reading it.

    • Thanks Sharon. I hope this article helps your friend. I really do use conscious breathing on a regular basis to help me stay calm and centered. It has helped me so much in many different situations.

  2. Jeanette, I really appreciate this clear and simple reminder of how breath and body awareness can keep us from getting swept up in stressful energies, wherever they come from. Using conscious intention is so important, and so easy for me to forget. Thank you for all the practical wisdom you are sharing.

    • Thanks Tomar, I am sharing what I use in my own life and my hope is that is helping others. I know I need to remind myself to use what I know. Sometimes the simplest techniques are the easiest to remember to use.

  3. Great post, Jeannette. The Breath is the connection between the divine and our expression ‘down here’. You describe the process so clearly and simply that everyone can benefit from it.
    When I teach meditation, I often use the breath as the freeway into the body away from the thinking mind. It really helps bring people inside in their body where the breath is received and helps everything slow down and become aware of what is really going on.
    I love this article. Thank you!

    • Thanks Pernilla. It’s great to hear how you use the breath when you teach meditation, I find it really helps me when I meditate as well.

  4. Emotions are such a physical experience sometimes, yet we often think of them as only being in our heads or hearts. When I am very upset, walking is the only thing that I’ve found that helps me release those emotions from my body.

    • This is another great way to release emotions Lesa. I like walking to clear my mind and emotions as well. The clear air and moving my body are a powerful combination.

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