The best breathing technique to help a child with anxiety

Deep breathing’s been used to help relieve stress and anxiety for millennia (okay, maybe not that long, but for a long time! 🙂 ).

Once you’ve learned how to do it yourself, it’s a great tool to use when your child is feeling stressed, anxious or angry.


Why do you recommend using controlled breathing?

When you’re feeling particularly stressful, or anxious, the entire sympathetic nervous system is activated (you probably know it as the ‘fight, or flight’ response).

When it happens, the adrenal gland gives you a boost of epinephrine (also known as Adrenaline).

Your heart rate and cardiac output go up. There’s an increase in blood flow through the muscles, your pupils dilate, the airways in your lungs get wider, and the hairs on the back of your neck stand on-end.

You can’t physically control your heart rate, you can’t constrict your blood vessels and you can’t slow down your blood flow.

But, you can have an effect on all of these, by controlling your breathing.

Controlled breathing is used successfully with children who suffer from things like GAD, Social phobia and just about every issue that causes some form of anxiety.

So, how does it work?

The  best method of controlled breathing to reduce stress and anxiety, is called Coherent Breathing. (You can visit this Website to find out more about the science).

But, it simply involves taking one breath in for 5 seconds, then breathing out for 5 seconds. And obviously, you don’t need any special tools or equipment. But, children usually find it easier if they have a physical cue to follow.

If that sounds like something you’d like to try, I recommend the ‘Breath Ball’ app.

Its FREE and available on both Android and iOS.


Go to Google Play
Go to iOS app store

If you don’t want to download another app to your phone, you can use this YouTube example from ‘Relaxation‘.

Simple to learn, simple to explain and one of the best free tools for lowering anxiety levels. What have you got to lose?

Give it a go and let us know what you think.

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Steve, the Founder of Teen Anxiety UK, has been writing books and articles about various aspects of Psychology since 2006.

His formal qualifications include Clinical Hypnotherapy, Psychotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Child Psychology.

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