Action plan for breathlessness

When you are aware of your breathlessness:

1. Tell yourself to stop and respond by pausing, breathe out slowly through your mouth.

2. Use positive, reassuring self-talk. (For example, "This will pass, slow down ... calm down ... I can slow my breathing.")

3. Sigh slowly and gently ... letting out a soft sound while you flop and drop your shoulders.

4. Focus on your slow and gentle out breath making your out breath twice as long as your in breath. Don't think about breathing in ... it will happen naturally.

5. Put yourself in a position that supports your head and shoulders to relax comfortably (elbows resting on knees or sit/recline well-supported).

6. Remind yourself "Slow down ... calm, relax ... it will be okay" because you can slow your breathing and get enough air. Allow yourself to feel comfortable and at ease.

7. Breathe out slowly through "pursed" lips in the shape of an "O" (as if you were going to blow gently through a straw). This helps you breathe out the old air from your lungs making room for fresh air.

8. Continue to breathe slowly and gently.

9. Your breathing is slowing…allow your mind to focus on a feeling or place that helps you feel comfortable and relaxed. Take yourself there while you continue to breathe out slowly in a position that is comfortable for you. Let your body become heavy and loose.

When your breathing has settled:

  • Think about breathing in "smelling the flowers" through your nose.
  • Breathe out slowly and softly through your nose or breathe out slowly and softly through your mouth—enough to lightly flicker a candle flame.
  • Feel your breathing deep and low in your body.

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