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Supporting health and social care providers in Devon

Activities to help you gain a sense of calmness and manage anxiety

3 to 5-minute mindfulness of breath exercise

  • Make sure you’re sitting comfortably and close your eyes (or look at a blank spot on the floor/wall).
  • Focus your attention on your natural breathing rhythm.
  • Don’t try to change your breathing in any way, just notice how it feels as you breathe in and out naturally
  • If you become distracted, whether this is by noise, feelings within your body or thoughts in your mind, allow yourself to notice, acknowledge it, but then bring your attention back to the present moment and focus once again on your breathing.
  • Continue this for 3 to 5 minutes.

Grounding yourself / sensory discovery

  • Stop what you are doing, stand/sit and take some time out to focus.
  • Push your feet to the ground and notice your connection with the earth.
  • Take three slow breaths in and out.
  • Look around you –notice 5 different things you can see.
  • Listen –notice 4 different things you can hear.
  • Feel –notice 3 different things you can feel (this isn’t just about what we can touch with our hands)
  • Smell –notice 2 different things you can smell (closing your eyes at this point may help!).
  • Taste –notice 1 thing that you can taste.
  • Take three slow breaths in and out.

3 to 5-minute breathing exercise for stress, anxiety, and panic

This breathing exercise can be done standing up, sitting in a chair that supports your back or lying down. You will get the most benefit from it if you do it regularly as part of your daily routine. Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth when doing the exercise. Try and let your breath flow as deep down into your belly and fully into your lungs as is comfortable without forcing it.

  • Make yourself comfortable.
  • Take a deep breath in gently and steadily, counting from 1 to 5. Some people may not be able to reach 5 at first, and others may be able to go further. Do what is comfortable for you.
  • Without pausing or holding your breath, let the breath out gently and fully, counting from 1 to 5 again (or whatever you find most comfortable).
  • Repeat this for 3 to 5 minutes.

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