Stress relief strategies

“When the Breath wanders, the mind is unsteady, but when the Breath is still, so is the mind still.”  – Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Strategies for Stress Relief

As the holidays are just around the corner, how about three new strategies to handle stress better? There’s no simpler way to help you reach a relaxed state than a quick intentional breathing exercise. I mentioned in a previous post how to practice box breathing, belly breathing, and the 4-7-8 breathing. Today, I am going to go over the one-minute breath, the 4-4-6-2 breathing, and body scan relaxation. Taking a few minutes each day to unwind can make a world of difference in how we can handle life’s daily stressors.

The One-Minute Breath

  • Inhale for 20 seconds
  • Hold for 20 seconds
  • Exhale for 20 seconds

I still find it difficult to breathe in for a full 20 seconds, so I just do 10 seconds for now, with a 10-second hold, and breathe out for 10 seconds. See what works best for you.

The 4-4-6-2 Breath

  • Inhale through the back of the throat for 4 seconds
  • Hold for 4 seconds
  • Exhale slowly through the back of the throat for 6 seconds
  • Hold empty breath for at least 2 seconds

Body Scan Relaxation

Body scan relaxation can be very helpful after a stressful event or simply as a daily practice to reduce any possible tension. It is about tensing one muscle group at a time, for 3-4 seconds, from head to toe. With each flex, breathe in through the nose for 3-4 seconds. When you release, breathe out slowly through the mouth for 5-6 seconds.

On a Final Note

You may also want to try Non-Sleep Deep Rest, another type of body scan relaxation/meditation. In just 10 minutes, a Non-Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR) protocol can help you feel better if you don’t have the time to take that most-needed nap, for instance. See which breathing exercise or body scan relaxation works best for you, or alternate like I do, depending on the day.

Until next time!


Asprey, Dave. “3 Deep Breathing Exercises to Calm down from Every Stressful Situation.” Dave Asprey, 20 Dec. 2017, Accessed 22 Oct. 2022.

—. “Step 3: 6 Ways to Hack Your Nervous System to Consciously Manage Stress.” Dave Asprey, 14 June 2012, Accessed 22 Oct. 2022.

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Sleep Quality

As mentioned in a previous post, consistent good-quality sleep is needed for your body to repair and your brain to clean itself of toxins. Tracking your sleep quality can bring you one step closer to a more restful night.

I have been using an Oura ring since last December. It is an awesome device that uses infrared light sensors to track different variables such as resting heart rate, heart rate variability, body temperature, movement, and sleep. Each day, you get three scores from the data collected: readiness (how well you may be able to perform today), sleep quality, and physical activity (number of steps, calories burned, etc.). You also get recommendations regarding your bedtime routine, which I find very helpful.

To this, you can add more strategies such as the following ones:

Turn Down the Lights

Do your best to avoid blue and bright lights (especially overhead lights) at least half an hour before bedtime for optimal melatonin production.

Don’t Exercise Near Bedtime

Exercise elevates cortisol levels that interfere with sleep. So it is best to avoid exercising at least two hours before bedtime. Restorative yoga or breathing exercises are great alternatives.

Don’t Drink Coffee in the Evening

Your mind needs to wind down at the end of the day, so it is best to drink coffee earlier in the day and probably not after 2 p.m. for most people.

Bring Down the Stress

Being able to clear your mind and stop worrying is essential to getting restful sleep. Deep breathing exercises might be the best tool to help your brain shut down (check out The Breathing Cure by Patrick McKeown).

In Summary

For a better night’s sleep, tracking your sleep with an Oura ring or an app like SleepCycle is a good first step. Turning down the lights at night, avoiding exercising near bedtime, and not drinking coffee late in the day are three other important strategies. Last, deep breathing exercises can help you de-stress at the end of the day. For more helpful tips to get adequate sleep, check out 3 Things to Prioritize on Your Quest to Feeling Better!

Until next time!


Asprey, Dave. “9 Ways To Sleep Better And Wake Up Feeling Like A New Person.” Dave Asprey Email, 3 June 2021, Bulletproof Media. Accessed 10 June 2021.

You can also find me on Instagram.