Breathing exercises are great to help you relax, stop a panic attack and encourage sleep. They are also really easy to do.

Equal Breathing – Use at night time to help you relax and sleep.

Breathing through your nose only – simply breathe in for a slow count of 4 and breathe out for a slow count of 4. The count can be longer or shorter depending on what is comfortable for you. This is very effective if you can’t sleep due to racing thoughts as you need to concentrate on counting your breaths.

Tip – practice makes perfect. If your mind strays back to your unwanted thoughts keep refocusing on the counting. Try and visualising the numbers as you count them.

Abdominal Breathing – Use to calm down prior to stressful situations such as exams or interviews.

Go to a quiet place away from others. Place a hand on your chest and your stomach (just below your ribs which is where your diaphragm.

Take a deep breath through your nose, make sure your diaphragm raises not your chest (also known as stomach breathing), and out quicker through your mouth.

Aim for 6-10 deep breaths a minute for up to 10 minutes. This will reduce your heart rate and blood pressure allowing you to calm down and think more clearly.

Tip – Again practice makes perfect. If you do this for a few minutes every day you will find that your breathing is easier to control when you find yourself needing to deal with a stressful situation.

Muscle relaxation – use to relax if feeling stressed or just to feel more relaxed

Sit or lie in a quiet room. Close your eyes and relax your breathing by focusing on breathing in and out through your nose. Once you feel more relaxed focus on the muscles in your feet and toes and tense them for a few seconds and then relax the muscles. Work your way up your body tensing and relaxing all your muscle groups in your legs, stomach, hands, arms, shoulders, neck and face.

Tip – If you are finding it difficult to focus try tensing your muscles as you breathe in and hold for a few seconds and relax the muscles as you breathe out. Don’t hold your breath for too long as this will make you dizzy.