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Breathing exercises

How do breathing exercises help?

Breathing deeply forces your body to relax, and deactivates your body’s natural anxiety response. Why not try these three exercises, and let us know what you think?

Exercise 1 - Calm down exercise

  • Breathe in for 6 seconds
  • Hold for 6 seconds
  • Release for 6 seconds
  • And repeat about five times.

This video might help you:

Exercise 2 - Deep breathing exercise

  • Take in a slow, deep breath.
  • Breathe right down into your stomach - not just into the top of your lungs, but right down into your diaphragm (you will feel your stomach muscles engage).
  • You might want to visualise a glass filling up from the bottom and getting full but not overflowing.
  • It may feel a little uncomfortable at first, but stick with it.
  • As you breathe out, imagine your stresses or worries leaving you with the breath.
  • Keep going until you feel your stress begins to subside.

Exercise 3 - 'Square breathing' exercise

  • Imagine a square.
  • Start in one of the corners (e.g. the top left corner).
  • As you breathe in for a count of four, imagine that you are drawing the square, or tracing the top of the square with your finger. Hold for a count of 4
  • Imagine the line going down the horizontal of the square. Breathe out for 4 again along the bottom of the square.
  • Hold for a count of 4.

Then repeat the same process again until you feel calmer.

Search online

Search YouTube for breathing exercises to discover more helpful techniques, and find one that works for you. For example, this video is from the NHS mindfulness page.

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