E-TIP: Use belly breathing to cope with anxiety and stress.

February 7, 2016

Too much anxiety or stress may make it hard to think clearly or pay attention. Deep-breathing exercises can help you and your child cope with anxiety and stress.

How to Breathe with Your Belly


  1. Stand, sit or lie down straight.

  2. Place one hand flat on your upper chest and another flat on your abdomen (belly). Your thumb should be around your belly button.

  3. Breathe in slowly through your nose. Your belly should expand while your chest stays still.

  4. Breathe out slowly through your mouth. Feel your belly move back. Exhalation should take about twice as long as inhalation. For example, if you counted to three when you inhaled, count to six when you exhale.

  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you feel calm. If you feel light-headed, slow down your breathing or stop.




The following videos will help your child understand and apply belly breathing.


Try it! 


Use belly breathing to cope with anxiety and stress in everyday situations, including at home. Encourage your child to use this strategy before or during stressful situations, such as tests. Incorporate belly breathing into your family's routine; start off every day with deep-breathing exercises.


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Angela Y. León has over

10 years of experience working with children, adolescents, and adults in multiple capacities. She has provided one-on-one, small-group, and class instruction as a speech-language pathologist, private academic and Spanish tutor, and executive function coach. She also facilitates workshops for students, school administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, speech-language therapists, occupational therapists, and families. Learn more :)