Living with cancer

Relaxation and breathing exercises

Relaxation is a simple, yet effective tool for transforming the emotional state of your mind. To help maintain health and wellbeing during or after cancer treatment, you can create a positive and relaxed emotional state by using relaxation and visualisation techniques.

You can try the following simple exercise at home when you have a few minutes to your self. You may find it strange or difficult at first however relaxation is a skill that improves over time.

Simple breathing relaxation

  • As you get into a comfortable position, allow your eyes to close softly turning your attention inwards.
  • Feel your body becoming heavy and sinking deeply into the chair or bed underneath you.
  • Bring your attention to your breathing taking a few, slightly deeper, slower breaths.
  • As you continue to be aware of your breathing, begin to lengthen you breaths out slightly.
    try breathing in to a count of three and breathing out through your mouth to a count of five or six. As you relax, try to slow your breathing still further.
  • Enjoy feeling the cool air of the in breath in your nostrils and the warm air in your mouth with each out breath.
  • Notice your tummy rising and falling with each breath and imagine yourself breathing in from the level of your tummy, as though you are breathing through your tummy button.
  • Imagine your tummy filling with air like a small balloon and then flattening again as the balloon deflates through your tummy button.
  • Continue breathing for a few minutes using this image and enjoying the movement of breath in your body.
  • When you are ready, gently open your eyes and have a stretch.
  • Try to maintain the feeling of relaxation in your movements and breathing as you get on with your day.

There are also a number of audio exercises in the links below - try different ones to see which works best for you.