Learn About the Power of Your Breath to Support Your Health and Wellbeing (Staff Videos, QR Code and Resources Available)

The UMatter Team

The power of the breath

Our breath – it’s the true constant in our lives and is also one of the few autonomic body processes that we can control - if we choose to.

Slowing our breathing slows the stress cycle and re-engages our frontal lobes allowing us to think more clearly. We breathe 25,000+ times a day, taking 30lbs of air in and out of our lungs but many of us do not breathe well or correctly, even though we’ve been doing it all of our lives! A fully noticed breath relaxes the body, feeds the brain, and lessens pain – you always have this tool at your disposal.


Take a look at the resource the ‘Three Step Breathing Space For all Staff’ – At any point during your day, you might find it helpful to find some space and take a short breather. The following steps can be used to help you feel more settled and grounded and more able to make wise choices about how to move through the rest of your day. You can use this at any time, and with practice, may find it particularly useful when you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed for any reason. Ideally, find a quiet place where you will have five minutes undisturbed. If this is hard to find, you can do this within staff bathrooms or even while walking along a corridor.


If you haven’t already take a few minutes to listen to the podcasts on soothing breathing practices  and breathing practices with imagery developed by Dr Lorraine McGurk, Consultant Psychologist for Staff Wellbeing.  There’s also a number of resources on different breathing techniques. Scan the QR code below using the camera on your mobile phone to open up the You Tube videos on breathing.

The breath has been a topic of scientific investigation in recent years and some interesting podcasts have been broadcast recently by Dr Rangan Chatterjee and his guests including:

  • Wim Hoff – Waking Up Your True Potential – episode 127
  • James Nestor, ‘Why Changing The Way You Breathe Will Transform Your Body and Mind’ – episode 124
  • Brian MacKenzie ‘How Breathing can transform your life’ – episode 113
  • Patrick McKeown ‘ Nose Breathing’ – episode  99

Get in touch with your breath and use it to restore your sense of control, calm and wellbeing. Check out the following apps:

  • Headspace
  • Smiling Mind
  • Breathe2Relax
  • BellyBio Interactive Breathing
  • Calm
  • Breathe & Meditate


If you have a wearable device you can use it to not just measure your steps but to learn to regulate your breathing.


NHS in Mind


'NHS in Mind' (link is external) is a free platform containing 8 easy-to-access, short interventions to help NHS staff alleviate and combat high anxiety, panic and fatigue at this time.

With the staff of the ‘NHS in Mind' Slee Parrish, an experienced Senior NHS Nurse and qualified Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist, together with Alex James, a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist and Mindfulness Teacher, have put together a set of free resources for members of staff to access and use to help them look after their mental health and well-being.

With the large number of patients expected to need treatment in the coming months NHS staff are going to be working round the clock. The psychological and physical effects on our workforce are going to be huge with high levels of anxiety, stress and fatigue being at the forefront. The inspiration behind this project is Slee's passion to show support and help her colleagues in anyway she can.

These easy-to-access, short interventions and exercises will help colleagues through what is expected to be an incredibly difficult time. Slee and Alex have hand picked this selection of interventions specifically with our NHS in mind. Practitioners across different fields successfully use them with clients who experience anxiety, stress and panic.

The following 8 techniques are designed to help NHS staff alleviate and combat high anxiety, panic and fatigue. Included are tutorial videos, recorded exercises and YouTube links to ensure staff have the tools they need at their fingertips at any point during the day.


If you are experiencing stress – see our dedicated section on Umatter with advice on recognising stress and taking action to deal with it.