Skip to main content

Can Deep-Breathing Exercises Really Help With Stress?

< Back to the article list

You know the feeling: You’re sitting at your desk, waiting to take one of the biggest tests of the year, and your heart is beating, your palms are sweating, and you feel so anxious that the idea of jumping up from your seat and running out the door seems appealing.

Sometimes, stress can seem so overwhelming, we can’t imagine anything making it go away, and the consequences of it (sleep problems, stomach issues, headaches, and cold sores) can really make life difficult. But what if easing that anxious, overwhelming feeling was as simple as doing some deep-breathing exercises?

What Science Says About Deep-Breathing Exercises and Stress Management

It sounds a little far fetched, but new research suggests that there might be a bodily connection between deep breathing and relaxation.

And what’s more, there are recent studies that show a positive connection between deep-breathing techniques and mood improvement. One small study conducted in 2017 showed the “potential” for a deep-breathing practice to “reduce physiological consequences of stress” and also “improve cognitive function” (which is a positive reason to consider deep breathing before a test). Another, slightly larger, study conducted in 2018 showed that deep breathing exercises “reduced perceived stress” in participants.

RELATED: Is Social Media Adding Too Much Stress to Your Life? Here’s How to Tell

While more research needs to be done before scientists can draw any hard or fast conclusions, it seems safe to assume that a deep-breathing practice may help you better navigate stressful situations.

Learning How to Try Deep-Breathing Exercises

While you may be thinking, “I breathe every day, how is breathing deeper going to help me with stress?” consider that a deep-breathing practice is more than just breathing in and out. As Harvard Medical School points out, deep breathing is about focusing on your breath and “disengaging from distracting thoughts and sensations.”

If you’re interested in starting up a deep-breathing practice, there is a ton of free information online (including the Harvard Medical School article) on how to get started.

And while deep breathing may help ease stress, when it comes to cold sores, Abreva can get rid of a cold sore in 2 ½ days1 when used at the first sign. Don’t let cold sores be another anxiety in your life; help them heal faster with Abreva2.

1Median healing time 4.1 days. 25% of users healed by 2.5 days.
2Among OTC cold sore medications

Related articles