Take a deep breath for a moment.

An inhaaaaale, and an exhaaaaale.

Breathing is something that most of us don't think about too much in our everyday lives—it's just what we do.

Which makes it sometimes hard to believe that something as simple as breathing can have a huge impact on our emotional and physical wellbeing.

Research shows that when we take the time to breathe properly, we’re actually fighting against things like stress, anxiety, and at the same time improving our sleep—all keys to a healthy lifestyle.

When we take the time to breathe properly, we’re actually fighting against things like stress & anxiety.

But breathing properly requires a lot more attention than just going about your day-to-day, business as usual.

In the 3 Days to Lower Stress challenge, now available in the Shine app, Elisha Mudly will teach you how to harness tools like your breath and body to lower your stress levels and return to a place of calm.

It's a skill worth cultivating: Besides the physical benefits, connecting to your body through your breath or visualization techniques allows you to really be in the present moment and helps you struggle less with any difficult emotions.

Here’s a bit about what Elisha gets into in the meditations:

1. Notice How Your Stress Shows Up

For some people, stress might be all mental—but for others, like myself, I notice stress showing up in how I sit or stand.

Often when I realize my shoulders are hunched or jaw is clenched, I know I’m stressed.

To solve this, I stretch or take Elisha’s advice and mentally release the tension.

A quick moment to be mindful of how I’m feeling and how it’s impacting my physical body can help me course correct before my sore neck lasts for days and my stress leads to burnout.

It takes five minutes, but it can mean a lot.

2. Question Your Worst-Case Thinking

Our minds love to jump to the worst possible conclusion. It’s a totally human thing to do, but it’s also not the most productive.

When things get stressful, pouring a lot of energy into unlikely scenarios can be exhausting. Elisha explains that our bodies actually respond to those thoughts by producing more stress, too.

Her trick to slowing down those thoughts is visualization, and she works through an exercise to help you use the power of visualization to break out of a worry spiral.

3. Focus on the Now

When we jump to the worst-case scenario or think too much about how we’ve worked through past experiences, it often means we’re not doing one important thing: focusing on the present moment.

Elisha emphasizes the importance of staying focused on the now as a tool to take back control from your stress.

It’s not as hard as it sounds, thanks to a few interesting exercises that allow you to get grounded. It can be as simple as focusing on the warmth from a cup of tea or noticing the sounds you hear around you.

I’ve found that in moments where stress is all encompassing, taking a few moments to breathe through it and focus on the present can help put the situation in perspective for me.

Tune in to the 3 Days to Lower Stress series to learn even more about how you can put mindfulness exercises into practice to lower your stress.

Feeling stressed out? Put your learnings into practice: