Stress can present a danger to our immune system when we find ourselves continuously on the go. Our body produces stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, our muscles tense, and we begin taking short shallow breaths.

One way to break the stress cycle is with the practice of conscious breathing. Conscious breath is the technique of taking slow, steady and deep breaths. This kind of breathing stimulates your lymphatic system, an essential part of your overall immune health. It can also de-stress the body by de-activating the sympathetic nervous system that takes over during high stress and anxiety and activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for our relaxation responses.

Make sure to close your eyes for 5 minutes and breathe deeply with slow steady inhalations and exhalations. To increase the effectiveness of your conscious breath practice, throw in some visualization techniques by imagining you are in a safe, serene place such as your favorite vacation spot, a quiet garden, or sitting in your favorite chair. For best results repeat this several times a day, or even better, once a hour!


  1. Beck, Erin. 2011. What are the health benefits of breathing deeply.
  2. Pal, G.K. Velkumary, S. and Madanmohan. Effect of short-term practice of breathing exercises on autonomic functions in normal human volunteers. Indian Journal of Medical Research. 2004;120:115-121.
  3. Hendricks, Gay. 1995. Conscious breathing: breathwork for health, stress release, and personal mastery. New York: Bantam Books.