Lesson 8 – Breathing Techniques for Stress Management and Relaxation

Exercises to Improve Focus and Concentration


  • Stressors vs. Relaxers: Breathing techniques that increase inhalation speed or duration are classified as “stressors,” while those that slow exhalation are “relaxers.” Stressors create strong air hunger, whereas relaxers focus on light air hunger and relaxation.
  • Vagal Activation: Slow breathing and extended exhalation activate the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation.

Safety Note:

  • Hyperventilation and intense breath holding should be avoided during pregnancy or by individuals with health conditions like diabetes, sleep apnea, epilepsy, anxiety, panic disorders, or cardiovascular issues.

Exercise #19: Box Breathing

  • Objective: To balance the autonomic nervous system, creating a state of relaxed alertness.
  • Directions:
    • If BOLT score is less than 15 seconds: Breathe in for 2 seconds, hold for 2 seconds, exhale for 2 seconds, hold for 2 seconds, and repeat.
    • If BOLT score is 15 seconds or more: Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and repeat.
  • Duration: Practice for 5 minutes.
  • Application: Useful for military personnel and anyone seeking mental balance.
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Exercise #20: Preparation for Public Speaking or Performance

  • Objective: To achieve a relaxed and alert mental state, suitable for public speaking or performance.
  • Directions: A specific sequence (not fully detailed in the text) is recommended to enter a flow state and focus attention.
  • Application: Ideal for public speaking, performances, or situations requiring heightened concentration and calmness.
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