Anxiety & Stress Relief with Diaphragmatic Breathing

Anxiety & Stress Relief with Diaphragmatic Breathing

I’ve got something to tell you about the
way you’ve been breathing you’ve been doing it wrong. I know you’ve been
breathing for a while since you were born and you probably take it for
granted that you know what you’re doing well in the breathing department. You’ve made
it this far but hear me out, and let me reacquaint you with the way
nature intended for you to breathe. Here’s what we’re going to cover in this
video today: 1) How most people are breathing wrong, and why? 2) A simple way to get more oxygen into your body to experience massive health benefits, and
3) Jow to reduce anxiety and even stop panic attacks in their tracks with a
simple breathing technique. First, let’s take a look at how you’re breathing
right now. Get ready to take in a really deep breath and hold it. Are you
ready, set, go! Now hold that breath for a moment and notice something. Did your
shoulders go up, and your chest expand like mine just did? For the majority of
us, when we’re told to take in a deep breath in, what we do is we expand our
chest and draw the air into the upper part of our lungs. Unfortunately what
this shows us is that you’ve unconsciously become a “chest breather.”
What this means is that you’re doing most of your breathing efforts with your
chest and even your neck muscles. It’s not the most efficient way to get oxygen
into your body because it only partially expands the lungs. Over time, chest
breathing can contribute to neck and shoulder pain. Now, I know this from
experience because I used to have chronic shoulder pain for years. The
bottom line is, you weren’t born as a chest breather. However, for most people
it has become an unconscious pattern to breathe using short, shallow breaths that
only go into the upper portion of the lungs. Years of poor posture, bad habits,
and stressful thinking eventually lead to less than desirable breathing
patterns. The chest breathing pattern of taking in short sips of air into the
upper lungs is adequate for living, but it’s inefficient for thriving. Stress
is a big contributor. Shallow breathing is a physiological response to stressful
thinking. Bad posture also plays a part. Do you sit for long hours in front of
the computer? Well, I know I do sometimes! Then there’s lack of exercise. As you
probably know, rigorous exercise naturally facilitates deep breathing and
stress release. And if you’re not getting enough exercise, eventually you might pay
the price with poor breathing habits. Then there’s pollution.
if you live in a smoggy city, or work in an industrial area, taking in a deep
breath can sometimes be a scary proposition. And don’t get me started
about smoking, that’s the worst. Smokers will reach for
a cigarette when they’re stressed, and then they actually condition themselves
to inhale with short puffs. It’s actually the opposite of a deep relaxing breath.
Finally, we breathe shallowly and poorly for looks! We’re culturally programmed to
expand our chest, and suck in the gut, because it makes you look “sexy.” Well, that
might look good in the mirror, but chest breathing only partially engages the
lungs, and it’s not very efficient at all. We take in about 20,000 breaths every
day. Most likely you’ve been chest breathing all day, every day, for a very
long time. You’ve only been getting a portion of
the oxygen that you could be using to energize your body, and lower your stress
levels. Oxygen is the most important source of life. You could actually survive without food for
several weeks. You could go without water for several days, but if you cut off your
oxygen, you’d be dead within minutes. Imagine the change in your health and
your energy if you could automatically take in more oxygen on an ongoing basis
just by breathing more efficiently. And I’ll tell you this, there is a direct
correlation between a person’s health and the oxygen levels in their body.
Cells that get insufficient oxygen become weak, and even die. There’s also a
theory that low oxygen levels may even contribute to cancer causing cell
mutations. So what is the answer? It’s the type of breathing that every mammal in
nature uses when they are in a state of relaxation.
It’s called diaphragmatic breathing. It’s also known as abdominal breathing, or
belly breathing. What many people don’t know is that the primary muscle for
breathing respiration is actually located under your lungs, and above your
stomach. It’s called the diaphragm. It’s a large, dome-shaped muscle, located
horizontally between the chest cavity and the stomach. Contracting the
diaphragm causes it to flatten out like this, and this creates a vacuum that
pulls air down into the lungs, and it pushes the belly out. When you breathe
with your diaphragm, your belly expands, instead of your chest. So try this out
now. Put one hand on your chest, and one hand on your belly.
Now, inflate your stomach as you breathe in, while keeping your chest and
shoulders relaxed. Sort of like this. Imagine expanding your stomach like a
beach ball, and that will push out the hand that’s over your belly. Avoid
expanding your chest outward or your shoulders upward. You want the hand
over your chest to remain still, and the hand over the stomach to expand outward. Inhale deeply by pushing your stomach
out. EXHALE slowly, and feel your stomach pulling in. Your shoulders and your chest
should stay relaxed. You might notice it takes some effort to
do belly breathing the first time you try this, because it’s much different
than what you’ve been doing. Unconsciously, your neck and chest
muscles have been doing most of the work up until now, leaving your diaphragm down
here weak and inefficient. The first time you try this, you might even get a little
light-headed, and that’s fine. Belly breathing is the healthiest and most
natural way to breathe. This is how you were born breathing. If you watch a
sleeping baby, you’ll see that’s how they breathe. The belly expands, but not the
chest. The act of pushing your belly forward as you breathe engages the
diaphragm. This allows you to take deeper breaths that engage far more lot of your
lungs capacity, and that means more oxygen gets into your lungs, and of
course eventually into your bloodstream. Just as important, deep and slow
belly breathing triggers the body’s natural relaxation response. In other
words, it interrupts the “fight-or-flight” response associated with stress, anxiety, and even panic attacks. Knowing how to breathe this way is an absolute must to
massively reduce your day-to-day stress levels. Deep belly breathing, done
correctly, is a master key to profound relaxation. It’s not a coincidence that
every traditional relaxation practice places a
high priority on deep breathing exercises, whether it’s meditation, yoga,
or even hypnosis. So, how can we make belly breathing natural again? While you
may have an unconscious habit and a pattern of being a chest breather now,
you can consciously choose to take control of your breathing pattern at any
time through conscious practice and conditioning. You can actually train your
nervous system with belly breathing until it becomes natural for you once
again. Taking in some structured deep belly breaths several times throughout
your day will re-engage your diaphragm muscle while conditioning your
subconscious mind to return to this natural state of breathing. Here’s a
structured, deep belly breathing exercise that will increase your energy while
dramatically cutting the head off of your anxiety, and your stress levels.
Here’s how you do it. You’re going to inhale through your nose slowly for a
count of four, then you’re going to hold that breath
for a count of four, and then finally exhale through your mouth for a count of
eight. Now, for this deep breathing practice exercise, we’re intentionally
going to take twice as long to exhale as inhale. The reason is that helps to
stimulate parts of your nervous system that produce the relaxation response.
This breathing exercise will teach you to breathe slower than what you’re used
to, breathe more deeply than what you’re used to,
and to use your diaphragm, by belly breathing, to regulate the inhales and
the exhales. Let’s do it now with the 4-4-8 count. A four count inhale,
a four count hold, and then an eight count exhale. Ready? Breathe in, hold it, breathe out. That’s it. Doing that simple power
breathing exercise several times a day will have amazing benefits for you, and
here’s why. Deep belly breathing causes profound physiological changes. It very
quickly decreases your heart rate and your blood pressure, and because it also
engages the lower portion of your lungs instead of just the upper, more oxygen is
getting into your bloodstream, releasing natural endorphins and serotonin. In
other words, taking in these deep belly breaths creates a relaxation response
that interrupts the fight-or-flight response of high anxiety. You will most
definitely notice a change in your stress levels simply by doing this
breathing exercise. As of right now, belly breathing is probably not your
unconscious style of breathing. However, simply continuing to practice belly
breathing will eventually lead to this becoming an unconscious habit. That’s the
goal. Meanwhile, just the daily practice of deep belly breathing will
have immediate benefits for your health, because you’re getting more oxygen into
your body, and your concentration and focus will actually improve while your
stress levels will go way down, and that’s a fact! So, here’s your action plan
of what you can do right now every hour of the daytime, basically your wakeful
hours. Simply practice three, deep belly breaths, using the 4-4-8 count.
Breathe in through your nose for a count of four, hold it for a count of four, and
then breathe out through your mouth for a count of eight. Do this three times in
a row each time. This doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Just a few moments to
center yourself, and take three deep belly breaths. If you have a smart
phone, which you probably do, there are some apps available that can cause your
phone to ring a short reminder alarm every hour,
like the hourly beep from an old digital watch. I use an iPhone, so I’ve been using
an app called “Chime.” I do believe this particular app is available for other
smartphones as well. I’ve got the chime app set to beep
once every hour between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. That’s my reminder
throughout the day at the top of every hour to practice 3 deep belly breaths
using that 4-4-8 count. So, here’s the rookie mistake, and that would be
not taking action right now to set up this reminder system to practice this
every hour. You’ve got to get this habit reinforced as quickly as possible, or
else you’re going to forget to do it. So, before you forget, stop the video right
now, get an app for your smart phone, or if you have a digital watch lying around,
set that to beep every hour in order to remind you to take three deep belly
breaths every hour of the day. It’s simple, it’s fast, and it’s very
empowering. Let’s talk now about how to stop anxiety attacks with a
simple breathing trick. Here’s the physiology of what occurs when a person
experiences strong anxiety, or even worse, a panic attack. Very often, there’s
difficulty breathing, or a feeling like you can’t catch your breath, like this.
That’s a common system for a panic attack. This happens not only because
you’re breathing in short, shallow breaths into your chest, but you’re going
too fast, and you’re trying to take in new air before you let the old air out.
This leads to the feeling that you’re not getting enough air, which of
course leads to even more panic. You might even be hyperventilating, which is
literally “over breathing” with shallow breaths that leave you feeling
like you’re just not getting enough air. Here’s the thing. The physiology of
anxiety, the physiology of a panic attack, requires shallow panic breathing. You can
actually break this pattern of panic breathing with slow deep breaths into
your belly. In other words, deep diaphragmatic
breathing, belly breathing, creates a pattern interruption for feelings of
anxiety. It’s not congruent, and an anxiety attack
cannot physiologically continue if you consciously take control of your
breathing. There’s a few tricks to keep in mind in order to make sure that
this works for you. The first trick is to exhale first before you try to catch
your breath. You’ve got to stop that pattern of hyperventilating, or trying to
pull in new air, before you’ve exhaled the old air. The first thing you need
to do is stop everything, and then exhale with a sharp burst of air, almost as if
you were blowing out a candle. Try this. This activates the diaphragm. You can
literally feel it engage as your abs tighten up when you exhale. This
creates a temporary but intentional interruption to the shallow panic
breathing. So, you stop everything, and you exhale first to clear your lungs, and
then just pause for just a moment, and then start doing the deep belly
breathing exercise with the 4-4-8 count. Breathe in through your nose
for a count of four, hold the breath for a count of four, and then breathe out
slowly through your mouth for a count of eight. While you’re at it, check
your posture. Good posture is the posture of confidence and being in control.
Sit up straight, or stand up straight, as you take in slow deep breaths that fill
up your belly, but not your chest. Breathe more deeply than you’re used to. Breathe
slower than you’re used to, and use your belly to regulate the inhales and the
exhales, and continue to focus on your breathing for as long as it takes for
the panic attack to stop. This might take a few minutes, but the body will respond
regardless of what’s going on in your mind. Here’s another important
consideration. If you ever do have panic or anxiety attacks, you must practice
deep, confident, belly breathing in advance of your next panic,
so you’ll know exactly what to do to break the pattern when the time comes.
Because if you wait until you’re in a state of anxiety to apply what you’ve
learned here, that’s too late! You’ll be overwhelmed, and most likely you won’t
remember what you’re supposed to do. You need to practice this in advance
while you have your wits about you, and right now there’s a feeling of being in
control. To recap: there’s really two potential
rookie mistakes that could happen here for people that suffer from anxiety or
panic attacks. First, would be not practicing the deep belly breathing
exercise in advance. Practice it often so you’ll know exactly what to do before
the next anxiety attack happens. Second, if you’re actually having a panic
attack, and you feel like you’re trying to catch your breath, you’ve got to
remember to stop everything and exhale first to empty out your lungs,
and pause for a moment. So pause, break that pattern of quick shallow panic
breathing and trying to bring in new air before the
old air has been released, and then start with the deep belly breathing exercise.
Here’s one final point about using this strategy. Deep belly breathing is
very effective, and it will stop the physiological symptoms of a panic attack,
but it doesn’t resolve the underlying thought process going on in your
subconscious mind that created that surge of anxiety in the first place.
There’s some sort of unconscious stimulus-response pattern that triggered
the anxiety. Well, the good news is that there are most certainly some very
effective and wonderful techniques for breaking up those triggers, and creating
permanent, lasting changes to break those patterns of anxiety. We’re going to
learn and apply those cutting-edge techniques in the FearCureCourse.
To wrap things up here today, for this video, just remember, pretty much every
person on the planet can benefit from the practice of deep belly
breathing, and practicing deep belly breaths throughout the day will train
your nervous system to make belly breathing natural for you once again.
Conscious practice eventually leads to subconscious adaptation. Thank you for
watching the video. Please hit “like” on the bottom if you found this to be very
helpful, which I hope you did, leave some comments, and let me know how well what
you learned today is working for you. Thanks for watching!


  1. Thank u for this video. I was suffering from anxiety and brathing hard i tried ur type of breathing and anxiety went away. Thank u god bless u

  2. Great video. Thank you for sharing Erick. You can feel the difference in your body and the stress relief. You know one problem that I faced in a period of my life where my work was causing me a lot of stress was not being able to take a FULL breath. I went to doctors and researched it a lot not finding anything, until I came across this breathing technique shared by a varsity runners coach. It helped me a FULL satisfying breath anytime I wanted to! It was such a relief honestly. I have shared the technique through this video:

  3. Excellently explained. I have listened to some TED Talks about diaphragmatic breathing. But this is crisp, to the point.

  4. Thank you, I'm stuck in fight or flight response and I was told this would help me untangle it, will practice it every day! much love <3

  5. Thank you Erick.  Very informative information………….utilizing your information now.Looking forward to meeting you soon as you are a speaker at a conference we are sponsoring in May 2018.

  6. Thank you for your explicit explainationa and demonstrations to use a healing tool that we are so ignorant of. for Anxiety — the bane of Civilisation..

  7. If you are into this topic, try this Web app (it's free and no need to install anything) It's similar to this video, but you can pick the breathing techique (Square, 4-7-8, Equal Breathing…) and adjust lengths of inhalation/exhalation if you want.

  8. Erick, you have done the video with so much sincerity and genuineness…just to help people. Please upload more breathing exerise videos to eliminate anxiety completely. are so utterly genuine. Regards. Ghazal.

  9. Hey Erick first of all ….it was one of the most useful videos on YouTube. ….
    I have a Question. ……i have a habit of breathing in to the nose .and Exale through the nose as well….I don't use mouth to exale …is it OK?
    I DO THIS WHILE MEDITATING ALSO so please guide me…….

    Thanks Erick?

  10. I have seen many videos to get through belly breathing ,but this one is the clear cut video i was searching for .Really had changed my life.thanx.?

  11. This is my problem im anxious short breaths and head and neck tension " my breathing is all out and get head ache ' anxiety ' plus i ave asthma

  12. Hi Eric, I enjoyed it, your are the first person that explained belly breathing so well. Do you have CD'S?

  13. Hi Eric, I enjoyed it, your are the first person that explained belly breathing so well. Do you have CD'S?

  14. Put an unabridged dictionary on your abdomen (lower than your belly) & watch it go gently up & down for 5 minutes a day. In a few monthis you'll notice that your default breathing IS belly-breathing. Yay! (Forever .}

  15. You Sir are awesome! thanks.
    I'm 20 years old and since childhood I suffer from severe anxiety that affects my digestion and causes reflux making my life really challenging.
    This video just might change everything 🙂

  16. I have a question down below, thoughts please? Bdw, I JUST SUBSCRIBED!!! 🙂 Thank you for putting this video up! very helpful!
    Also, I just wanna say, I badly need this! I've been breathing totally wrong, this started during my college days. As a singer without proper training and with little knowledge about breathing exercises, this affected my voice and could not reach high notes like before and even talking have been a struggle to me because of doing short chest breathing. Yes, my neck and chest area has a lot of tension over the years and I've been prone to stress and anxiety attacks. Reading books and info from google, I discovered deep breathing. I've been practicing diaphragmic breathing for a while, although this slightly helped me, I'm not consistent and not that committed in doing it, thus, experiencing the same voice and breathing issues. Need to practice this more often! This is by far the best video precisely explaining the benefits and disadvantages of short shallow breathing.
    Is a shallow breathing something related to getting AB/AD spasmodic dysphonia? I think had developed spasmodic dysphonia because of breathing in a wrong way!

  17. ohh my dear sir,
    Thank you very much..i dont know how to thank you…i owe my life to u…i was struggling from tbis for long time..

  18. Almost 1 month ago I went through a very traumatic experience, and since then I have been having a lot of panic and anxiety attacks, and I have been viewing a lot of different techniques, and I must say, after trying what you demonstrated, I felt very relaxed, and that's a feeling I have missed! Thank You So Much For Sharing Your Video! I will continue to practice what you shared!

  19. Likes others have said, great video. However I've watched a few "diaphragm" videos but don't quite get one thing. When I do the "breathing from the belly", it never feels like I can get in more air. Actually, when I take in all the air I can into my belly, and then "chest breath" and lift my shoulders up, I pull in sooo much more air. Am I doing something wrong?!? I'm sure as I'm not used to doing this, my diaphragm will get stronger with time, but is that all it is, a currently weak diaphragm? Thanks!

  20. Erick, I suffer from anxiety, for the passed 5 years I have kicked anxiety and only get one attack a month or two months. This entire month ive been in the er on and off over 10 times, getting tests, everything. They cannot figure out whats wrong and they say its probably just stress, EVEN THOUGH I cannot breath 24/7, I meen 24/7. They have NEVER TOLD ME TO TRY THIS, they say " slow your breathing but NEVER TOLD ME TO BREATH FROM THE STOMACH.
    They tried to put me on anti depresants and all that… this morning I woke up to find your video on my suggested, and thank god i clicked it, for the first time in a month IDONT HAVE CHEST TIGHTNESS I AM SO HAPPY! Thank you for giving me my life back I owe you a great deal.

    -Richard Must

  21. Wow! This is helpful. I feel confident, after only watching video. I will feel even more confident, after that 3 times per hour practice with belly breathing. Thank you so much! P. S Have not had attacks for a long time, but sometimes they make me remind of them.

  22. Im suffering from stress depression and now stress effects my digestive system last night i start breathing it helped me to feel comfortable I hope it heals all my problems and lower my stress im really in bad situation not working not sleeping well 🙁

  23. Thanking you so much! I’m crying while typing this, anxiety renders you’re ability to think, so giving anxiety ridden instructions, strengthen our heedfulness! Thank you sir. You’re amazing!

  24. Excellent script, sharp analysis of the problematic, reviewing the main causes of inefficient breathing, and pedagogic way of advising a more effective way to breathe in different situations, insisting on the fact we can by simple training make it automatic! This characteristic can by the way be used for many other purposes, like improving our knowledge, our personality, getting rid of habits we don't like, getting others we prefer… And the true magic of neuroplasticity is that we can train ourselves to train ourselves ^^
    Pretty different topic, regarding to the introduction, I've got the impression that it somewhat contrasts with the content… Unsure if it's intentional or not… Would you think something like "Do you think you can improve it?" would be worse or better ? 🙂
    Anyway, pretty amazing video, thank you!

  25. My breathing has resulted in neck pain and stenosis with bad posture. My pt worker has me working on breathing using my diaphragm more
    Easily this definitely helps. He’s right bad posture exercise all

  26. what is stopping me from learning the deep breathing the right way is the fact that I inhale fast and then stop as I cannot get more air in, so it's not even two seconds in till I stop inhaling. and also, the time in between each complete breaths, I don't know if the breaths should be done back to back immediately or there must be a break to go back to the onset posture and start all over.

  27. Hey Erick! I think you might be able to help me. I'm having some kind of anxiety breathing "attacks" for good few years. There are two sympthoms. Interestingly enough, both of them I start with quick BREATH OUT, by myself (I didn't know you should do that untill I've watched your video), and then I have like an attack of keeping on breathing out rapidly without inhaling much. Mostly that "movement" I have with closed mouth so air goes out trough the nose, however, there are moments where I also feel like I have to build up pressure of air "in my mouse" to rapidly breath it out. There were surely some triggers and I could name few of them, however many of those things are the past or I don't remember them anymore. Could you tell me please, what would be the best way of actually finding those triggers? I get those "attacks" in sometimes totally normal situations when sitting, reading something I like, or playing a game or drawing, but I've recognized it increases if I get angry for example. Not always but they often do. What would you advice to me? or maybe you have any additional questions to clear it up? 🙂

  28. Hey Erick, I wanted to ask you about the 4-4-8 breathing technic that you Are showing in this video I feel like I have a hard time doing the whole thing, as in I can do the 4 seconds of breathing in but I feel like my air gets stuck right after I breath in for 4seconds. And so I was wondering if you had any tips on that? Also I would say that I have a thing where doing the day I don’t get enough air into my lungs. Anyways hopefully You got what I meant by this also sorry for my kinda bad English. -Malle

  29. Hello Mr. Erick. I like this video and i have a breath awareness campaign 24 hour exercise if you would like to check it out here at https//

  30. when i stand to speak, my heart starts pounding, i breath short, so much panic is there…anyone has solution?

  31. I have read a lot about breathing technique. One thing you apparently never should do is actually hold your breath. You probably have heard of Apple's breathing app assistant for the apple watch. It doesn't make you hold your breath either. Would you please tell me what your medical background is Eric?

  32. You're very right about the "chest breathing for looks" bit. I've been sucking in my gut for YEARSSSSS because I've been known for going to the gym and working out, but the gut makes me look like I'm pregnant. So as a way to not look fat/unhealthy…I suck it in; and as a result my breathing is extremely shallow and it makes my voice crack at times. Shallow breathing also makes me naturally speak faster so I can get my thoughts out before my breath runs out. Sick and tired of it. I guess now I have to actually start doing cardio to lose my gut so I can let it out.

  33. There are many ' how to breath vedios. ' but this vedio is clear and complete explain of how to breath.

  34. What are the symptoms of chest breathing ???? or shallow breathing? My chest muscles hurt along with upper back pain and tightness due to anxiety. I sometimes breath from my chest and stomach at the same time when I’m a anxiety issue. Can you please tell me some of the symptoms of wrong breathing like what does it affect your chest your ribs pain muscle pain so I know and I can compare them to what I’m feeling. I also feel like I need to take a deep breath and when I do try to take that deep breath I feel like I can’t get to the last or the end of my breath. Sorry I know it’s kind of weird how I explain it but I try to take a deep breath so I can take a full breath but it feels like it stops at the end so then I start to get anxiety and start to just breathe even more. Any help on the symptoms of chest breathing please.

  35. You have to consiouscly relax your muscles if your breathing shallow its because your holding a muscle tight somewhere in your body, it can be you thighs, your stomach your arms your shoulders your face find it and release it and you will see how naturally deep you start breathing no need to focus on your breath or the way to breathe it will happen by itself once you have released all the muscles you are holding tight. I figuerd this out a while back when i had shallow breathing i just strated noticing what muscle am.i holding tight and i would let it go and soon the habit of releasing became second nature all muscles were always relaxed throughout the day..then i started shallow breathing again and i thought all my muscles were relaxed i didnt know why i was still breathing shallow it took me a couple months to find the muscle i was tensing and it was my throat muscles ! That one was sneeky and harder to find but once i found it and released i just started to breathe deep again.

  36. I knew about it but i was never following the right breathing. The way you have explained it is just amazing. Thanks for sharing. I have started it today.

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