Ways to relax

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Now that you’ve reviewed what relaxation is and why it’s important, it is time to start learning more about how to relax!

Belly breathing

What it is and how it can help

Belly breathing is one of the best and easiest ways to relax. Belly breathing is also called abdominal breathing.

Breathing is an important part of relaxation, because our bodies need a constant supply of air to work smoothly. When you breathe, you can use two different ways to breathe in: chest breathing and abdominal breathing.

Chest breathing is the way that we normally breathe. It is shallow, and can be fast. When you are stressed, your chest breathing becomes even faster. You might even feel short of breath. Shallow breathing makes your heart work harder to transport oxygen everywhere in your body. This extra effort can lead to other changes in your body like tense muscles and sweating.

Belly breathing is all about breathing slowly and deeply, where air is drawn deep into the lungs and released. By breathing slowly and deeply, your body will receive enough oxygen and you can start to relax.

Learning how to do belly breathing

To learn how to do belly breathing, check out the animation below.

Belly breathing

Practice tips

  • After you have learned to do belly breathing while lying down, practice it the next few times while sitting up in a chair.
  • After that, practice belly breathing standing up with your eyes open.
  • Practice your breathing exercises several times each day. If you practice one to three times a day, you will learn quickly.
  • Belly breathing can be done anywhere, anytime, without anyone knowing that you are doing it.

Remember, the best way to become good at belly breathing is to keep practicing. The better you are at belly breathing, the faster you’ll be able to relax when you’re feeling stressed or having pain.


Stress and pain can cause you to tense your muscles and hold your body in unusual ways. You and the people around you may not always notice this tension. The tension makes muscles tired because they are always held tight, instead of being loose and relaxed.

Tension can be different for different people. Some people have tension in their neck. Some clench their teeth, and others may feel the tension in their stomach.

Relaxation is a way to relax muscles all over your body by learning how to loosen them. The next few pages will teach you how to do this. First, you will learn how to use relaxation with tension. This involves tensing and then relaxing muscles in different parts of your body, and feeling them relax more and more each time. Next, you will learn how to relax without tensing your muscles. Once you are good at this, you can practice mini-relaxation exercises that will help you to relax quickly.

Last updated: January 31st 2017