Breathing Exercise for Relaxation

Relaxing is an important part of coping with pain or stress. Deep breathing is a way to relax.

You can use these relaxation tips yourself or to coach your child to decrease her level of stress and better manage pain.

If your child is an inpatient at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, you can ask your child's nurse or a child life specialist to demonstrate breathing exercises for relaxation and offer tips to help your child experience the benefits of deep breathing.

Relaxing for pain relief

  • First, find a comfortable place to sit or lie down.
  • Place one hand on your stomach right above your belly button. Place your other hand in the middle of your chest on top of your breastbone. Take a breath. Notice how it feels.
  • Breathe deeply. You should be able to first feel your hand on your stomach and then your other hand rise as your lungs fill with air.
  • Hold each breath briefly, then slowly breathe out. Feel your abdomen and chest slowly lower as you breathe out.
  • Notice the air entering your nose and mouth. Imagine the air going in your nose and mouth and filling your lungs. Notice the hand on your stomach slowly rise. Practice this.
  • Try to make your breaths longer and slower. Breathe out slowly.
  • As you breathe, let the air surround all the tension or pain that you feel in your body.
  • Imagine that you are blowing stress from your muscles out of your body as the air leaves your mouth.
  • Continue breathing and focus your mind and breaths on areas that are tense or painful to relax.

Take a moment to notice how different your body is already feeling. Notice how much better and more relaxed you feel.

Reviewed on August 01, 2012