Clinical psychologist Catherine Madigan believes most people can benefit from learning how to control their breathing.
Once mastered, you can apply this skill in common stressful situations such as public speaking, unfamiliar social/work situations, to control your fears or when going into an interview or an exam.
If you are not used to slow breathing it’s easiest to practice lying flat on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor and eight inches apart.
Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your abdomen.
- Hold your breath and count to 10.
- Then breathe out and think ‘relax’ to yourself.
- Then inhale slowly through your nose for three seconds. The hand on your abdomen should rise whilst the hand on your chest should stay relatively still.
- Then exhale through your mouth for three seconds, making a whooshing noise as you breathe out. Think ‘relax’ as you exhale. The hand on your abdomen should fall as you exhale.
- After a minute of breathing in and out in a six-second cycle, hold your breath again for 10 seconds
- Keep repeating this process for five minutes.
Once you have got the hang of this technique lying down, try it sitting up in a chair and then try doing it standing up.