Inhaling and exhaling a few deep breaths everyday could make a drastic improvement during your cancer journey. Taking just a few moments each day to practice some deep breathing exercises can decrease stress, relax your mind, body and can help you sleep better. This is a simple technique, which can be done anywhere and you don't have to use up loads of energy. Making it the perfect stress relief when side effects from treatment are hitting you hard.
There are many breathing techniques, some might work better than others, so it is worth trying them all and seeing which works best for you. Below are my favourite breathing techniques that helped me get through treatment and recovery. A top tip for when doing these exercises is to picture your favourite place or memory.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, to a count of eight.
- Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
- Make sure you are sitting or lying comfortably.
- Close your eyes and breathe through your nose to the count of four.
- Pause for a moment.
- Breathe out to a count of four.
- Place one hand on your upper chest and the other hand on your belly, below the ribcage.
- Allow your belly to relax, without forcing it inward by squeezing or clenching your muscles.
- Breathe in slowly through your nose. The air should move into your nose and downward so that you feel your stomach rise with your other hand and fall inward (toward your spine).
- Exhale slowly through slightly pursed lips. Take note of the hand on your chest, which should remain relatively still.