k u .co. mind our y think re #IFeelBetterWhen Relaxed breathing for stress If you have feelings of anxiety alongside stress, then breathing exercises and relaxation can help to relieve the symptoms. It can help you calm down and take a step back from a stressful situation. Although the cause of the anxiety won’t necessarily disappear, you will probably feel more able to deal with it once you’ve released the tension in your body and cleared your thoughts. Don’t worry if you find it difficult to relax at first. It’s a skill that needs to be learned and it will come with practice. Good relaxation always starts with focusing on your breathing. The way to do it is to breathe in and out slowly and in a regular rhythm as this will help you to calm down: • Fill up the whole of your lungs with air, without forcing. Imagine you’re filling up a bottle, so that your lungs fill from the bottom. • Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. • Breathe in slowly and regularly counting from one to five (don’t worry if you can’t reach five at first). • Then let the breath escape slowly, counting from one to five. • Keep doing this until you feel calmer. Breathe without pausing or holding your breath. Practise this relaxed breathing for three to five minutes, two to three times a day (as required). www.nhs.uk. 8 Recovery - NHS choices 43