Between new routines and health worries, it’s a stressful time. Staying on top of stress is crucial for our physical and mental wellbeing.
A simple way we can help to control our stress response is through being aware of and controlling our breathing.
Proper breathing physically helps us to relax and calm down and prevents anxiety-associated hyperventilation.
Calming breathing can be used anywhere and at any time to help calm you down and relax.
Step-by-step calming breathing
- Position yourself in a quiet environment
- Make sure the room is a comfortable temperature
- Sit comfortably in a chair or in a relaxed position
- Drop your shoulders so that your lungs can fully expand
- Gently lift your head and fix your eyes straight ahead of you or close your eyes
- Take five slow, steady breaths – try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth
- Begin ‘Calming Breathing’ by breathing in easily and gently to the count of three, holding for a second, then breathing out to the same count of three
As well as calming breathing, it’s good to practise deep breathing known as diaphragmatic or belly breathing.
- Lie on the floor placing a small pillow under your head and another under your knees (this is optional)
- Place your hands flat across your stomach, with just the tips of your fingers touching
- ‘Bell’ out your stomach as you breathe in, filling the lower part of your lungs with air (your fingers should move apart) and count to three
- As you breathe out to the count of three, flatten your stomach muscles (your fingers will be drawn together again)
A helping hand
Need help with calming breathing techniques? Our yoga teacher, Joanna, has been supporting the Westfield team with remote classes.
She’s shared her top three breath work and relaxation videos: