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Your breath as a relaxation tool

Your breath can calm you down

Slow and deep breaths, with the outbreath longer than the inbreath, slows down our parasympathetic nervous system. This slows the heartbeat, lowers the blood pressure and generally makes us more relaxed.

You want to be around 12-15 breaths for 3 minutes (so 4 or 5 a minute) to slow down your parasympathetic nervous system. If you are higher than that, see if you can practice to slow your breath down. Try counting your breath in (4 or 5 counts) and your breath out (6 or 7) counts.

If this feels difficult or unpleasant – stop for now. Try some of the other exercises before you come back to this one. Many of us have a strange relationship with our breath and actively trying to slow it down can feel challenging. That’s ok, you can get back to this exercise later on.