Breathing Exercises

Worrying and getting upset from time to time is part of life. Knowing how to calm down when we become scared, anxious, stressed, or nervous is a good life skill. There are many ways to calm down and relax. One of the easiest, quickest ways is to breathe, deeply.

A teenager is meditating

Deep breathing is an effective technique for reducing feelings of anger, stress and anxiety. Slowed breathing relaxes the body, helping us feel calmer and able to cope.

Breathing Exercises

Square or box breath: this is where you breathe in for four seconds, hold for four seconds, breathe out for four seconds, hold for four seconds and repeat.

4-7-8 breath: Close your lips and inhale through your nose for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale completely through your mouth making a whoosh sound for a count of eight. This completes one cycle. Maybe continue for 2-3 full cycles.

Going through my senses: to do this, name five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste.


  • Don’t count too quick! If four counts are difficult for you, try starting with three.
  • Watch your hands on your stomach move up and down as you breath – this shows you that you are doing it correctly.
  • Build your endurance to practice this breathing exercise for a full minute.
  • Practice when you are not under stress, so that the skills are ready when you need them.
  • When feeling bad, tell yourself “I’m learning to cope when I’m feeling bad, so I can have strength to face difficult situations, I am proud of myself.” Then use your breathing technique to take control of yourself and your emotions.