4 Breathing Exercises I Use To Help Stop My Heart Palpitations

Tom August  —  April 22, 2015

[Note: This post is part of a larger series about the The Best Cures and Remedies for Heart Palpitations]

When I first got heart palpitations, I scoured the internet looking for cures (as I’m sure many of you have or are doing). One of the first websites I came across was one that practically guaranteed that my heart palpitations would go away. I was pumped. But once I finally found their “solution” I was sorely disappointed. Their solution was basically to buy their book/video teaching me how to breathe properly. Breathe properly? Ha! That’s crazy talk. I breath just fine thank you very much. So I passed on their product and moved on to other sites. But the more I looked for cures and remedies, the more I came across people who said breathing exercises helped reduce their heart palpitations significantly. Maybe it wasn’t crazy talk. Plus I was desperate and willing to try anything.

Four Breathing Exercises to Help Stop Heart Palpitations

So I did. I jumped into the world of breathing exercises. I tried to be religious about practicing proper breathing techniques. I made a spreadsheet and marked off my time each day. After all, breathing exercises are a great way to relax, right? Well… not for me. After a couple of weeks, I was still having terrible heart skips, and I was anything but relaxed. I was frustrated. I wanted to concentrate on my breathing, but all I could hear and feel was my heart skipping over and over again. It was terrible. My frustration would make my heart skip even more. I would come out of my “relaxation time” ready to punch someone in the face. It was bad.

But then I found a couple of tricks that seemed to work for me. Hopefully they will work for you too.

  1. I do breathing exercises with a massager
  2. This may sound strange, but hang with me here. As I mentioned, I couldn’t concentrate and relax when doing breathing exercises. I couldn’t get over the feeling of having thump thump…skip…big thump… heart palpitations every three beats until I stumbled across this strange solution. I had been standing at my desk working all day and decided to use a massager on my back (one of the percussion kinds). After a few minutes I noticed that I didn’t feel the skips as much as before. It was great. So I tried combining it with my breathing exercises and it was incredibly helpful. (If you don’t know what type of massager I’m talking about, here is massager that I use if you are interested, I love it.)

  3. I lay on my back with my feet up on a wall or on my bed
  4. The other thing I do is lie on my back with my feet up. This helps me take deep breaths by expanding my stomach rather than shallow breaths from my chest. I put my massager on my chest and concentrate on the rise and fall of my stomach. Weird, I know, but effective, at least for me.

  5. Breathing App
  6. If you want some help with your breathing exercises, there is a great app that helps walk you through each breath. It’s called Breathing Zone – Relaxing Breathing Exercises and you can use it on your mobile phone or tablet. I use it on my iPhone and it’s really helpful. I highly recommend it.

Four Breathing Exercises That Help Me with Heart Palpitations

  1. All Things Equal
  2. This is an easy one and supposedly helps get your body in a natural rhythm. It also helps you fall asleep, so that’s good. All you do is sit up straight (or lay down) and breathe in (inhale) through the nose for a count of four, then breathe out (exhale) through the nose for a count of four. Keep it simple. This is the one I do most often. I slowly breath in through my nose and then let the weigh of my body force the air out of my lungs on it’s own. All the air comes out quickly but I linger at the end of the exhale (enjoying the silence) until I reach my count. Once you feel comfortable with a count of four move up to five, then six, then seven, etc.

  3. Breath Counting
  4. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and then breath in naturally (don’t worry about rhythm) through your nose and out through your nose. When you breath out through your nose count “one” to yourself. Keep doing that all the way to five and repeat. Focus on the numbers (maybe even try to picture them mentally). Soon your mind will wander, but that is good. Just keep coming back to your five count.

  5. The Simple Slow Roller
  6. (i.e. The Longest Birthday Party or The Birthday Cake) The idea here is to breathe out longer than you breathe in. Inhale through the nose and count to four or more, then exhale through your mouth for one to two seconds longer than the inhale. My favorite trick is to breathe in slowly then when you breathe out through your mouth you pretend that you are blowing out a candle on a birthday cake but so softly that it wouldn’t put out the flame – hence the Longest Birthday Party Ever 🙂

  7. The Bumble Bee (i.e. The Hummer)
  8. This one might be my favorite. I especially use this when I don’t have my massager since it produces a similar effect. First you cover your ears with your thumbs and your eyes with your fingers. You breathe in through your nose, and with your mouth closed, you breathe out slowly making a deep humming sound. You do this about five to ten times and then you take a couple deep breaths without the humming. It’s nice and peaceful. Then you just repeat as needed.

So those are my four go to breathing exercises that I do when I feel stressed or anxious or when I am having a lot of heart palpitations. Hope you find them helpful!

So what about you? Do you have any breathing exercises that you love or that you find helpful?

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DISCLAIMER: Keep in mind I am NOT a medical professional and this is NOT a Medical website. I am just a guy who got sick and tired of dealing with anxiety, stress, and benign heart palpitations and started blogging about my journey. Hopefully some of that information is helpful to you. But what works for me or others might not work for you. Please do not do ANYTHING described or recommended in this website without the consultation and consent of your Primary Care Physician or Cardiologist. After all, this is your heart we are talking about. Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission that goes toward supporting this website. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

15 responses to 4 Breathing Exercises I Use To Help Stop My Heart Palpitations

  1. Humming works for me! My wife thinks I have literally gone insane and often says “you’re making that noise again!”, but it really does work. I also scoured the net and was promised a “cure” through the same breathing site i am sure you visited only to read the entire document and then click off when they wanted dollars for their technique! Keep up the excellent work!

    • Haha! My wife laughs at me as well when I do the humming one. She is missing out though. I love it.

  2. Thank you for continuing with this blog. I feel like a lot of people could benefit from it if only to manage stress. Many of the techniques you share are perfect for anxiety disorder. I have general anxiety disorder and my palpitations just started last week. The first couple nights I did exactly what you did; (slept upright thinking it would help only to actually get less sleep.) I found your blog in an off chance decision to try a more positive approach at handling something that very well could last the rest of my life. I’m glad I made that decision because here you are with all your research and experience. Thanks again. My family thanks you too. Reading your content keeps me optimistic.

  3. Has anyone tried this breathing program?


    • I bought it and haven’t gone through the practice yet. It’s actually not easy but I can see where he is coming from. You need to basically learn how to effectively use carbon dioxide in order to better absorb oxygen. According to lots of other research I had done, he is on the right track.

  4. The first number 2 is not weird at all, in yoga this is called “Legs up the wall savasana” its very good for breathing, It reduces edema in the legs and feet, It relieves tired leg muscles, It gives you all the benefits of inversion without the effort, It is super calming for the nervous system, It helps quiet the mind.

  5. Thank you so much. Like you, I have reached the point where I an desperate to try anything to stop this alarming condition. Its 01.10. and I have just tried your suggested breathing excercises. Whilst they have not completely stopped the palpitations, that have become somewhat calmer, so I feel a little calmer too. I may eve try to sleep soon.

  6. Try some honey. Wash your face in cold water and place a jelly Ice bag on your forehead. It work for me. I also tried a teaspoon of Black strap Mollases in the morning & night.

  7. I just went to the emergency room with my second episode of heart palpitations, first time i just tough it out, went to see my doc he sent me home with only listening to my heart, (at that time the palpitations were gone) week later (today) it happened again, thought i was dying, ER did ekg and several blood test, finding nothing, sent me home with discharge papers referring to panic attacks, my question is, can panic really cause my heart to beat uncontrollable in this way, mine goes back after an hour or so, i still believe its something more

    • Same here! Any Updates? I’m waiting to see a cardiologist and that could be one month.

      • Did you guys ever find anything out? I’ve been told everything is fine and I need to calm down but I’m going on two weeks of still having them and it’s scary!

        • All,

          Not sure if this has already been mentioned on here, but the one solution that fixed my palpitations was 10 months on 10mgs of Fluoxetine. Not exactly what I wanted to do, but after doing my research and consulting with my doctor I decided to do it. The reason it worked had something to do with my brain having hardwired itself to be anxious after years of episodes. The medicine allowed me to remain in a less anxious state while my brain healed, i.e., went back to using the normal pathways (which apparently takes about 6 months). I’ve been off the medicine for a month and no signs of palpitations, and I think they went away around 6 months into taking the medicine. It’s worth asking the question to a trusted source and doctor. 10 mg is considered the minimum dose, but it was just enough for me. I will say that going on and off the medicine is a little jarring, both in different ways. But it was worth it.

          • I would not recommend this Fluoxetine (Prozac) remedy. I understand that it seems to have helped you, but the side effects are nearly endless and it can lead to suicidal thoughts and suicide while you take it and even suicide when you stop taking it. Bad stuff.

          • I would not recommend this Fluoxetine (Prozac) remedy. I understand that it seems to have helped you, but the side effects are nearly endless and it can lead to suicidal thoughts and suicide while you take it and even suicide when you stop taking it. Bad stuff.