★★★★★ HelpGuide is a top-rated nonprofit

Our mission is to provide empowering, evidence-based mental health content you can use to help yourself and your loved ones.

Donate Get In Touch

HelpGuide uses cookies to improve your experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. Privacy Policy

audio meditations

Deep Breathing Meditation

When you start to feel overwhelmed, this deep breathing exercise can help you quickly rein in stress and feel more calm.

  1. Deep Breathing Meditation HelpGuide 3:47


Copy and paste this code to your site to embed.

When we're stressed or anxious, our breathing becomes more rapid and shallow. This in turn, makes us feel even worse—triggering symptoms such as dizziness, light-headedness, and shortness of breath. This deep breathing exercise helps you slow your breathing down and relax both physically and mentally. It's simple to learn and, best of all, it’s something you can easily practice any time and anywhere.

Speak to a Therapist Now

With over 25,000 licensed counselors, BetterHelp has a therapist that fits your needs. It's easy, affordable, and convenient.

Online-Therapy.com is a complete toolbox of support, when you need it, on your schedule. It only takes a few minutes to sign up.

Teen Counseling is an online therapy service for teens and young adults. Connect with your counselor by video, phone, or chat.


Hello, my name is Chris Saranchock. Welcome to HelpGuide’s Deep Breathing exercise.

Let’s start by finding a comfortable seated position, your spine straight, chest open, and your arms resting loosely to either side.

Gently close your eyes and focus on the rhythm of your breathing. If you’re stressed or anxious, you probably notice that you’re breathing more rapidly than normal.

So with this quick exercise, we’re going to work together to slow your breathing down…

inhaling deeply through your nostrils…

holding the breath—feeling it in your lungs…

and then slowly exhaling through your mouth, letting all the air out.

We’ll repeat that sequence over and over…. letting the slow, relaxing breath infuse your whole body and release the stress you’re holding.

1st Cycle:

Now, take a deep breath in through your nostrils… (4 seconds)

Hold… (7 seconds)

And slowly exhale… making a whooshing sound as you empty your lungs. (8 seconds)

2nd Cycle:

Now inhale… in through the nostrils… (4 seconds)

Hold… picturing the oxygen flowing through your body, bringing healing and relaxation… (7 seconds)

And exhale… blowing all your stress out…. (8 seconds)

3rd Cycle:

Inhale again… maybe saying to yourself, I’m inhaling light and peace… (4 seconds)

Hold… (7 seconds)

And on the exhale, say to yourself, I’m letting go of the dark and tension… (8 seconds)

4th Cycle:

On more final inhale… in through the nostrils (4 seconds)

Hold… envision your lungs full of life-giving oxygen… (7 seconds)

And one last big exhale, letting your stress go… (8 seconds)

If you feel a little lightheaded, don’t worry, that will go away with practice. And as you practice, you can work up to more cycles if you need them.

But for now, just transition back to your normal breathing. Keeping it slow and steady. Noticing how much more relaxed you feel.

Let’s just continue to breath for a few more moments.

Now, slowly open your eyes and slowly come back to the room.

And remember, this is a technique you can turn to any time you start to feel overwhelmed. It’s fast, it’s powerful, and you can do it wherever you are.

Last updated: October 24, 2022