There are many different breathing exercises. Here is one that you can do anywhere, anytime that you feel like you need to calm down.
- Sit, stand or lie down so that you’re comfortable.
- Close your eyes if you prefer.
- Focus on your breathing, still breathing normally.
- Start breathing more deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth. Imagine that you’re trying to gently fill your stomach with air (your abdomen should rise as you breathe in).
- As you breathe out, relax the muscles in your face, neck and shoulders, and gradually work through the rest of your body.
- If it helps, say something quietly to yourself such as ‘relax’ or ‘easy does it’.
- Concentrate on your breathing and your body.
This exercise can take as little as a few seconds or longer, depending on how you feel. Once you get the hang of it, you'll find that you can feel calmer more quickly and more easily each time.
Another tip: find ways to smile and laugh. It can really help your stress levels to enjoy yourself. Talk with a friend who makes you laugh, or watch a funny TV show.
Deep breathing exercises are not recommended if your stress levels put you at risk of hyperventilation (as in a ‘panic attack’).