The world is full of self help books, meditation, hypnosis and other big ideas which are supposed to help you remain calm, deal with stress or handle anxiety.

But there’s one super simple trick that you can do anywhere at any time which will make a difference when your head is spinning and its all getting a bit much for you.

Being aware of your breathing and concentrating on the in and out action is a great trick to centre you and keep you calm as its one thing you can control. When we are stressed, our breath quickens, which stresses us out even more and makes us panic, which is why slowing it right down is so effective. Take 5 minutes before an exam, a big match, an interview or an awkward conversation to try this technique and make it a habit.

This might sound stupid, as everyone knows how to breathe, but here’s how its done….

  • Find a quiet and comfortable place where you can sit or lie down where no one will bother you for a while. (Toilet cubicles are great for this, as if you’re really stressed, putting your face against the cold tiles is lovely).
  • Sit or lie in a comfortable position, put your head between your knees if that works.
  • Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a relaxing place.
  • Take a couple of deep breaths (in through your nose and out through your mouth). Concentrate on filling your stomach with air, and even watch it go in and out if you want to.
  • Try to hold each breath for 10 seconds, (count slowly) before you let it out slowly.

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