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Hilary McMeeking | Counselling in Cheltenham

Breath Focus


When deep breathing is focused and slow, it can help reduce anxiety. It can also be useful as part of a daily self-care routine


You can do this technique by sitting or lying down in a quiet, comfortable location. 

  • Notice how it feels when you inhale and exhale normally, then... 

  • Take a deep breath in through your nose (notice your belly expanding) and hold for a few seconds.

  • Exhale slowly, sighing out if you wish. Make sure to exhale fully, squeezing the diaphragm to make sure.

  • Do this for several minutes, paying attention to the rise and fall of your belly. Remember to keep it slow or try to slow it down.

  • Choose a word to focus on during your exhale. Words like “safe” and “calm” can be effective.

  • Imagine your inhale washing over you like a gentle wave.

  • Imagine your exhale carrying negative and upsetting thoughts and energy away from you.

  • Scan your body if you feel like doing so.You might feel tension in your body that you haven't noticed before, if you do, try to relax that part as you breathe out each time.

  • When you get distracted, gently bring your attention back to your breath and your words, away from any ruminating thoughts.


  • Try to focus on your chosen safe word and/or the feeling of your breath coming in and out of your body; your breath, for instance, feels cold at the tip of your nose when you breathe in and warmer when you breathe out. 

Try this for a few minutes as many times a day as you feel is useful.

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