Breathing Techniques

Shift from shallow to deep breathing to find peace and reduce physical symptoms of anxiety

Grounding and Tension Relief

Use techniques to shift your attention to the present moment, and relieve tension from your body

Visualisation and Guided Imagery

Imagine a relaxing and safe space and get some distance between your thoughts and emotions

Breathing Techniques

Breathing exercise are a natural tranquilliser for the nervous system. They encouraging a shift from shallow breathing – which we often do when feeling anxious – to deep breathing. This can help regulate the levels of oxygen and CO2 in your body and switches the autonomous nervous system from sympathetic (fight or flight) where you might experience physical symptoms of anxiety, such as a racing heart, sweating, or feeling dizzy, to the parasympathetic (rest and digest) state, where you feel safe and relaxed. Different techniques work for different people or for different situations, so you might want to try a few and see what works best for you.

Loop Videos: These videos contain the basic breathing steps and are designed to be played on a loop for as long as you need. To do this on a desktop computer, right click on the video and select “loop”. On a phone or tablet, save the video to a new playlist, open the playlist, play the video and press the loop/repeat button.

4-7-8 Breathing (5m)


Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and breathe out through your mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat. Try each step for fewer seconds if this is too difficult to begin with. This technique can be particularly useful to help you get to sleep.

Square Breathing (8m)

Loop | Alternative

Breathe in through the nose for a count of 4,  hold the breathe for 4 seconds, exhale through the mouth for a count of 4, hold the lungs in an empty state for a count of 4, Repeat. Try each step for fewer seconds if this is too difficult to begin with.

Alternative Nostril Breathing (3m)


Breathe through one nostril whilst holding the other closed with your finger or thumb. Inhale through the left nostril. Hold both nostrils briefly closed and then exhale through the right nostril. Briefly hold and then inhale through the right nostril. Hold and exhale through the left nostril. Then inhale through the left nostril. Repeat.

Grounding and Tension Relief

Grounding: Grounding techniques can be useful for when you are feeling really intense emotion or you when you are feeling overwhelmed by emotion. You might be having a lot of “what if…” thoughts about the future, or going over things that have happened in the past. Grounding can help to bring you out of that emotional state and back to the present moment, the here and now.

Tension Relief: Muscle tension is commonly associated with stress, anxiety and fear as part of a process that helps our bodies prepare for potentially dangerous situations. Even though some of those situations may not actually be dangerous, our bodies respond in the same way. Sometimes we don’t even notice how our muscles become tense, but perhaps you clench your teeth slightly so your jaw feels tight, or maybe your shoulders become tense, resulting in a feeling of tightness in your neck and shoulders. Progressive muscle relaxation or body scan are two techniques that can help to reduce tension.

Grounding (5m)


Name 5 things you can see – what are the shapes, textures, lighting – 4 things you can hear – are they quiet, loud –  3 things you can touch – are they soft, rough, smooth – 2 things you can smell – are they pleasant – and 1 thing you can taste – is it sweet, bitter, warm or cold. Engage in your senses.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (9m)

5m | 18m | Alternative

Go through the different muscle groups in your body deliberately tensing them and then relaxing them. From your head, your jaw, your neck, you shoulders and your arms, to your abdomen, your thighs and your feet. Feel the difference between tension and relaxation.

Body Scan (10m)


By  mindfully scanning your body from head to toe you can bring awareness to every single part of your body, noticing different sensations. If you notice and tension or discomfort in your body, breathe into those areas, and release the tension on an out breathe, visualising the tension leaving your body.


Utilize all of your senses — vision, taste, sound, smell, and touch — to build images in the mind or follow contructed images that can feel as real as the external world. These visualisations can help you to feel peaceful, provide you with a safe space to go to when you need a break, and give you some distance between your thoughts and emotions. This can actually stimulate changes in heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory patterns, because of the deep, physical mind-body connection.

Leaves on a Stream (5m)


Whenever a thought comes into your mind  imagine placing it onto a leaf on a gently flowing stream and letting it flow on by. This helps us to distance ourselves from our thoughts rather than getting caught up in them. We don’t need to react to them, we can just notice them.

Safe Place Visualisation (6m)


Image a pleasant scene, real or imagined. Somewhere that you can feel calm, peaceful and safe. Imagine what you can see, hear, smell, feel and taste. You can come to this place any time you want and stay as long as you like, enjoying the peacefulness and serenity.

Guided Imagery – Forest (12m)

Alternative BeachAlternative Forest

Follow along with a guided imagery, engaging all of your senses as your journey through a forest. Envision a peaceful setting to help you to feel more relaxed and reduce your stress.


The activities, tools, and information found on this website are in no way a substitute for care provided by a trained professional. Please seek help from your GP or a licensed professional if you believe you may be suffering from any mental health difficulties. If you are unsure on if any of these tools are right for you or how to best implement these, please be sure to consult or discuss with a professional about your concerns.

If you are in crisis please contact your GP or the Samaritans on 116 213
Please go the resources page for a full list of the resources available

CALL 999 or go to A&E
If someone’s life is at risk (e.g. they have seriously injured themselves or taken an overdose) or if you do not feel you can keep yourself or someone else safe. A mental health emergency should be taken as seriously as a physical one. You will not be wasting anyone’s time.



Contact your GP

Call Samaritans

Text "SHOUT"

Ways to Cope

 Exercises and tools
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