How to Lower Your Heart Rate Naturally With Breathing Exercises

A high heart rate could be the result of stress or anxiety. When you are under duress, your body releases a chemical called adrenaline as part of the "fight or flight" response. Adrenaline increases your breathing and heart rates in an effort to help you deal with the cause of the stress. Breathing exercises can help calm the fight-or-flight response and return your breathing and heart rates to normal without the use of drugs.

Breathing exercises can lower your heart rate. (Image: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Take Your Pulse

Step 1

Put on your strapless heart rate monitor. Touch the metal contacts on the watch face to take your pulse.

Step 2

If you do not have a heart rate monitor, place the index and second fingers of your right hand against the right side of your neck just below your jawline. Count the number of beats in 6 seconds. Multiply that number by 10.

Step 3

Place your hand over your heart if you do not have a monitor or are unable to focus enough to count beats and make a mental note of your heartbeat.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Step 1

Sit or lie in a comfortable position. Do not try this exercise while standing in case the deep breathing makes you dizzy.

Step 2

Put one hand on your abdomen, just below your rib cage, and the other on your chest. Your hands will act as guides so you know you are breathing correctly.

Step 3

Inhale as deeply as possible through your nose. You should feel your stomach expand first, then your chest. Hold this breath for 2 to 5 seconds.

Step 4

Exhale through your mouth. You should feel your chest deflate, then your stomach.

Step 5

Repeat the breath five times or until your heart rate drops and you feel calm. Check your heart rate with the heart rate monitor, by taking your pulse or by gauging your heartbeat.

Alternate-Nostril Breathing

Step 1

Sit or lie in a comfortable position. Do not try this exercise while standing in case the deep breathing makes you dizzy.

Step 2

Put the thumb of your right hand against your right nostril and the middle finger of your right hand against your left nostril.

Step 3

Press your left nostril closed and inhale deeply through your right nostril. Feel your stomach and chest expand.

Step 4

Press your right nostril closed and exhale deeply through your left nostril. Feel your stomach and chest deflate.

Step 5

Repeat the breath five times or until your heart rate drops and you feel calm. Check your heart rate with the heart rate monitor, by taking your pulse or by gauging your heartbeat.

Warning

Discuss your stress levels, triggers and breathing exercises with your doctor, who can suggest other lifestyle changes that might help your situation.

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