Deep Breathing

  • Managing worry
  • Success/coping with stress
  • Coping with COVID-19

About this resource

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What It Does

This resource will walk you through:

The difference between chest breathing and deep breathing
How breathing affects anxiety
How to breathe deeply

How It Helps

Deep breathing can help you:

Relax and destress
Calm down when you're feeling anxious
Cope with anxiety anywhere, anytime

This resource will walk you through:

The difference between chest breathing and deep breathing
How breathing affects anxiety
How to breathe deeply

Deep breathing can help you:

Relax and destress
Calm down when you're feeling anxious
Cope with anxiety anywhere, anytime

There's a beginning to every journey

There's more where this came from! This resource is just one part of a wellness program. Create an account to use the full program, along with:

5 min self-assessment

Progress tracking

Self-guided courses/apps

Communities of support

Confidential counselling

Substance use support

The most helpful was the relaxation and breathing exercises, the program helped me during the pandemic!

51-year-old female from Ontario, on using Strongest Families to manage COVID-19 stress

This resource was adapted from the Strongest Families’ ICAN (Conquer Anxiety and Nervousness) program.

If you are interested in finding more resources like this one, including self-guided courses, webinars, peer-to-peer support groups, live counselling, mindfulness meditations, and more, you can create an account for free. You’ll also be able to complete a wellness assessment and track your progress towards your wellness goals.


What is tension?

Feeling pressure, muscles feel tight and stiff, like when you make a fist.

What is relaxation?

Feeling calm and peaceful, muscles feel loose and at ease, like when you release a fist.

The goal of this program is to learn skills that will help you cope with anxiety signs before, during, and after. We don’t want to stop anxiety completely. We need some anxiety to protect us from danger. We want you to stop fearing anxiety signs and learn how to control them with these skills.

Use your skills:

  • At the first signs of anxiety

  • Before, during, and after an anxiety-causing situation

Deep Breathing

Proper breathing is an important part of relaxation. Chest and Deep Breathing are two types of breathing. Deep Breathing means breathing in through your stomach. It is more helpful than Chest Breathing because it is controlled. Air is taken in and released slowly. It is important to know about both types so that you can learn to change from Chest Breathing to Deep Breathing.

Learn Deep Breathing while lying down, sitting, and standing to help cope with anxiety signs in any situation. You can use this skill anywhere, anytime, and no one will know you are doing it. It’s a great, quick, easy way to relax.

Video transcript

“Proper breathing is an important part of relaxation. Chest and Deep Breathing are two types of breathing. 

Chest Breathing is often associated with anxiety. When air is taken in, the chest goes out and the shoulders rise. The body does not get enough air because breaths are shallow and fast. If your lungs do not get enough air, your blood doesn’t either and the ‘anxiety response’ or ‘alarm’ goes off, triggering anxiety signs. Your heart rate and muscle tension increase, sweating begins and you might feel dizzy. Watch me do some chest breathing.”

“On the other hand, Deep Breathing is the best way to relax. When air is taken in, it’s drawn deep into the lungs, filling your stomach like a balloon and then released slowly, resulting in deep and even breathing. This means your lungs, blood and body are getting enough air. Watch me do some deep breathing.”

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