Sometimes when we get anxious, we become frazzled and can’t think straight or perform at our best. Breathing can help to calm our mind so that we have clarity and focus; we are then able to do our very best in exams and other areas of our lives. The following is a breathing technique based on the 4-7-8 breathing technique pioneered by Harvard-trained Dr Andrew Weil. This technique can be very calming and can be used anytime, anywhere, by both children and adults.

Getting into a comfortable position, close your eyes and place your hands on your stomach. Imagine that inside your stomach is a balloon. When you breathe in, you are inflating the balloon and it gets bigger and bigger. When you breathe out, it is like you prick the balloon and it deflates and shrinks. Take some big, deep breaths and imagine the balloon inside your stomach expanding, and then shrinking as you breathe out again. Try not to hunch your shoulders or tense your body as you breathe in, but rather focus on the air going into your stomach. Breathe in for a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7 and then breathe out for a count of 8. This might be quite challenging at first, so hold it for as long as feels comfortable. The more you practice the better you will get at holding it. This can be repeated several times until you feel calm and at ease.

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