Breathing exercises to help you manage anxiety and relax

Complementary therapist Helen has kindly shared some breathing exercises to help you relax if you’re feeling anxious. Listen along and give them a try!

Helen Martin, a complementary health therapist at the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at the Western General in Edinburgh

Hi, my name’s Helen Martin and I work on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at the Western General in Edinburgh. I’m the yoga teacher for the ward, teaching outpatients a restorative yoga practice.

I also work in various departments in the hospital as a complementary health therapist, offering massage, Bowen Technique Therapy and essential oils, which play a holistic and integrated health role to support the treatment that patients are already receiving during their stay in hospital.

Breathing exercises

Sometimes when you’re feeling anxious, it can feel difficult to relax. We can feel like we can’t think straight, we can’t focus, or we can’t centre ourselves.

Breathing techniques can help the body to switch from an active state to a relaxed state. This helps the heart rate and thought processes slow down.

We can use this as a tool to help us whenever we need it – to retrain our body to be relaxed, especially in times of stress.

In this audio clip I’ll talk you through a technique called ‘square breathing’ which helps your brain and nervous system to settle.

You can practice this before going to sleep at night, first thing in the morning or any time during the day. I hope you’ll find this helpful as a tool if you’re feeling anxious.

Huge thanks to Helen for sharing these techniques! Find out more on Helen’s website.