These days, whenever you’re feeling stressed, frustrated, angry, sad, or really any emotion outside of happiness, the first piece of advice most people are apt to give is, “Have you tried meditating?” But… meditation is difficult, and not for everyone! That’s why its calming cousin—breathwork—is so clutch.
Breathwork is an ancient healing technique, with science to back its effectiveness as a calming agent due to its activation of the parasympathetic nervous system. Verses meditation, it can be easier for people to add to their mental health toolbox because it doesn’t require you to battle the voices in your head; instead, it lets your body do the work of bringing you out of past sadness or future fear and into the present moment.
One of the best things about breathwork is that it can be done pretty much anywhere under just about any circumstance, and you don’t need a wide window of time for it, either. In fact, most breath-centric calming exercises show effectiveness in five minutes or less. Below, find 15 such practices to incorporate into your daily zen routine, or to lean on in moments of mental health crisis.