Be conscious of each breath

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

For most of us, breathing is something we take for granted. We don’t even think about it. But focused and controlled breathing is a simple and effective pain management technique that can be done anywhere and at any time. You can do it at home, at work, on a train or in a waiting room. It’s useful when you’re trying to sleep or when you’re waiting for your pain medication to kick in. And anyone can do it.

Breathing exercise

Find a comfortable position. This may be in a chair, on a bed or even lying on a blanket outside.

Relax your body, especially your shoulders, chest and stomach.

If you want, close your eyes. This can help you become more focused and block out external distractions.

Clear your mind. Put aside your thoughts, worries and anxieties.

Focus and take this short time out for you.

Slowly take a deep breath. Fill your lungs to a capacity that’s comfortable for you.

Then slowly release this breath. Don’t release it in a sudden exhale, but control it so it’s slow and smooth.

Continue to take slow, even breaths…in and out. You’ll feel your muscles start to relax and your mind will begin to calm.

Continue to breathe deeply in this slow, smooth way for as long as you need.


There’s no right or wrong way to practise deep breathing. Find the method that suits you best and makes you feel most relaxed.

  • Some people prefer to inhale through their nose and exhale through pursed lips; others inhale and exhale through their nose, while others inhale and exhale through their mouth.
  • Play soft music in the background to help you relax and block out other noise and distractions.
  • Silently repeat specific words or phrases in time with your breathing ,e.g. ‘I’m inhaling energy, I’m exhaling my pain’ or ‘relax’, or ‘no pain’.

Back To Contents

musculoskeletal health australia

Musculoskeletal Health Australia (or MHA) is the consumer organisation working with, and advocating on behalf of, people with arthritis, osteoporosis, back pain, gout and over 150 other musculoskeletal conditions.

Useful Links

Copyright by Musculoskeletal Health Australia 2024. All rights reserved

ABN: 26 811 336 442ACN: 607 996 921