Build mental strength in just five minutes with this short breathing workout

Just a few minutes a day can develop mental strength, boost your mood, and improve your wellbeing

Man meditating outside
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's usually the case that you need to pick up a set of weights to develop muscular strength. However, this five-minute breathing workout can develop mental strength, improve your resilience, and boost your workout performance.

You won't need any equipment, not even muscle-building weights like the best adjustable dumbbells, just a quiet space you can sit or lay down for a few moments. If you're on the floor, rolling out one of the best yoga mats can make things a bit more comfortable.

This short breath exercise—developed by Elena Brower, a meditation and yoga teacher for the wellbeing app Glo—is designed to "counteract conflict, fear, or irritability," settle your mind, and calm your body.

If you've wanted to learn how to meditate, this is an accessible introduction to the practice. There are many styles of meditation, although one of the most common is mindfulness meditation, which uses the breath to bring you back to the present moment.

Although it's a valuable tool for moments when you're feeling overwhelmed, you don't have to be stressed or anxious to benefit. Just as you need to regularly use core strengthening exercises to develop muscle, making a habit of this exercise can build mental strength.

Watch Glo's five-minute breath practice

A post shared by Glo (@yogaglo)

A photo posted by on

You may have used deep breathing exercises in the past to lower your heart rate, recover after a workout, or settle your emotions. This short session uses similar techniques to create physical changes in your body, which help you feel calmer, stronger, and more relaxed.

Even muscular film stars like Chris Hemsworth are giving these breath techniques a go. In an interview with Centr, he explained, "Strength is about more than just muscle... Want bigger biceps? Get lifting. Want to get stronger mentally? Meditation is the key."

According to the American Psychological Association, "like building a muscle, increasing your resilience takes time and intentionality." But it can be challenging to carve out large chunks of time to focus on your wellbeing between family, work, and social events. 

Fortunately, Brower's session takes just five minutes, so you only need to find a few moments in the day to feel the benefits. Some people also combine breathing exercises with beginner's yoga exercises to calm their mind and body.

Yoga, sometimes referred to as moving meditation, develops mindfulness and strengthens the connection between your mind and body, helping you become more aware of how you feel physically throughout the day.

Alternatively, you can protect your mind and boost your mood with these affordable self-care ideas. From taking a walk to cooking a meal from scratch, there are plenty of ways to look out for yourself without breaking the bank. 

James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is a London-based journalist and Fitness Editor at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.

In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.