Breathlessness Advice and Support

Breathlessness Advice and Support is for those who:

  • Experience breathlessness at rest and/or during activity
  • Live with/support someone who suffers from breathlessness

Managing breathlessness with relaxation

Breathing problems are very common in people who have heart and lung conditions, cancer and neurological conditions. Breathlessness can be disabling and frightening.

Being breathless can affect your ability to relax. Here are 10 steps you can follow to help with your symptoms:

  1. Find a comfortable position either in sitting or lying. Loosen any tight clothing and remove your shoes if you wish. Close your eyes
  2. Become aware of your breathing – breathe in and out normally
  3. Squeeze your toes up as tight as you can, hold the tension then slowly release
  4. Lock your knees, pulling them back down, hold that tension then slowly release. Feel the difference. Repeat
  5. Make a fist with each hand. Hold on tight, then slowly let your fingers uncurl, and your palms release. Take a moment to feel the difference. Repeat
  6. Hunch your shoulders, feeling the pull up your back. Hold this position and then slowly release the tension. Let your shoulders fall. Repeat
  7. Press your head back into the chair. Release the tension
  8. Clench your jaw. Feel your teeth squeeze together. Slowly release your jaw, allow a space between your teeth and allow your tongue to rest between your teeth
  9. Screw your eyes and frown. Feel all the muscles working hard. Slowly relax your face, try to feel the tension release as the muscles relax. Repeat
  10.  Take your attention to each part of your body, checking for any remaining muscle tension. Recognise the areas that are easiest to relax, and those which are most difficult
  11.  Sense the feeling of relaxation, and allow yourself a moment of calm
  12.  When you feel ready, become aware of the room, stretch and open your eyes

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