Try these powerful breathing & meditation techniques this Stress Awareness Month

April is Stress Awareness Month – we hope you’re feeling good but however you’re feeling you can use these easy to follow breathing & meditation techniques to feel calmer, happier & more relaxed….we can’t control what happens in the world around us but we can use these tools to help us feel less stressed & anxious.

We want you to feel healthy & happy – so give these a try! The more you practice, the better you will get at creating & maintaining a calmer, more relaxed & positive mindset. We know you’re absolutely awesome, with great powers you might not even realise!

Diaphragmatic Breathing

When we’re stressed or anxious our breathing is often shallow and mostly in the chest/shoulders. Breathing in a relaxed way can help calm the body and relax your mind, anchoring you in the present moment. If thoughts come (which they always will!) try to watch them pass like clouds in the sky, then gently refocus on the breath.

  1. Spine long & relaxed.
  2. Relax shoulders, let them hang down to the ground without force or effort.
  3. Lips gently sealed, teeth apart, jaw relaxed & soft. Let the tip of your tongue rest not he roof of your mouth behind your front teeth – keep you tongue still to help quieten internal chatter & thoughts.
  4. Breathe through nose, in & out of the belly – you can gently place hands on belly to feel expansion & contraction, like a balloon

Even Count

  • Make your inhale & exhale the same length using a mental count (eg “INHALE 2 3 4, EXHALE 2 3 4, INHALE 2 3 4, EXHALE 2 3 4” etc.)

Long Exhale for Deep Relaxation & Insomnia

  • Make inhale & exhale the same length using mental count (eg IN 2 3 4, OUT 2 3 4)
  • Keep counting & make the exhale a bit longer (eg INHALE 2 3 4, EXHALE 2 3 4 5, or EXHALE 2 3 4 5 6)
  • Helps you to really relax and go into ‘rest & digest’ mode (instead of ‘fight or flight’, which is our default setting when we’re stressed)
  • Can be very good for falling asleep!

Mindfulness Body Scan

  • Anchor yourself with your relaxed diaphramatic breath, eyes closed.
  • Move attention to feet – feel whatever you can/can’t feel with your feet.
  • Move attention around body from feet – legs, knees, pelvis, spine, belly, chest, shoulders, arms, hands, neck, head & face.
  • Use your attention or awareness like a torch that is shining on & inside different parts of your body.
  • Feel whole body, all together all at the same time.

Lots of excellent (& free!) guided mindfulness body scans on YouTube.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

  1. Place your index & middle finger between your eyes; position thumb & 3rd finger so they can gently close the left & right airway (side of your nose, not on the nostril opening)
  2. Breathe through both nostrils – close eyes & really feel the breath in & out.
  3. (Keeping your eyes closed can help to amplify the benefits & improve your focus.)
  4. After an exhale, close right nostril & inhale through left nostril.
  5. At end of inhale swap to other nostril, then exhale & inhale.
  6. After each inhale, swap (exhale, inhale, swap, exhale, inhale, swap etc)
  7. Repeat up to 20+ times.
  8. Drop hands and breathe through both nostrils a few times to finish.

Very powerful, calming & relaxing – try it and notice how you feel before & after?


Being kind is very effective at counterbalancing all the negative effects that prolonged stress has on the mind & body.

The benefits for your mind & body are exactly the same if you’re actually doing/saying something kind to someone/yourself, compared to watching someone being kind, or imagining being kind!

You can practice being kind anytime – as long as you really mean it you will reap the rewards, and this meditation is a wonderful way of starting to develop your powers!

Loving Kindness Meditation

  • Picture yourself clearly, then say to yourself & project the feeling/intention (like you’re shining a bright, magic light on every atom in your being) “May I be Healthy, May I be Happy, May I live with ease” – repeat 3 times.
  • Think of someone you love, then repeat mentally & project to that person “May they be healthy, May they be happy, May they live with ease” repeat 3 times.
  • Think of someone you know in passing, “May they be healthy, May they be happy, May they live with ease”– repeat 3 times
  • Think of someone you can find difficult/challenging, “May they be healthy, May they be happy, May they live with ease” – repeat 3 times
  • Think of all the living people & things in the world, “May they be healthy, May they be happy, May they live with ease” – repeat 3 times

This technique is based on a Buddhist meditation called ‘Metta’ – you don’t need to be a practising Buddhist to try this and enjoy the benefits, and there are lots of quality (& free) guided versions of this technique online.

Lion’s Breath


We hope you enjoy – and wish you a healthy, happy & stress-free day!

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I would definitely recommend it. You go at you own pace and there are always options for everyone, no matter what level you are. You only have to try it once!


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