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Breathlessness can make you feel anxious|, frustrated and panicky. All these emotions can cause rapid, shallow breathing, which in turn can make you more breathless. Learning some basic relaxation techniques can help you control anxiety and breathe more easily.
Try to find a quiet and peaceful place to do these exercises. Make sure you’re comfortable with your shoulders, neck and back well supported. Have your arms by your sides or hands resting on your lap. This technique can take practise so try it for 5-10 minutes once a day to start off with and then try to do more. Set aside time during the day to practise.
Once you feel comfortable doing this, you can move on to the next stage.
Once you feel comfortable doing the above exercises, it can help to imagine pleasant or tranquil surroundings or to listen to some relaxing music. If you have an MP3 player you can download relaxation podcasts from the internet. Relaxation CDs and tapes may be available from your local library.
Our Relax and breathe CD can help you learn ways to manage breathlessness. You can order a copy for free from our be.Macmillan| website.
Content last reviewed: 1 January 2011
Next planned review: 2013
For answers, support or just a chat, call the Macmillan Support Line free (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm)
Our CD, Relax and breathe, is available to order free from our be.Macmillan website.
If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just want someone to talk to, ask Macmillan.
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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