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How Breathing Affects Feelings


Normal, anxious, and exercise breathing have significant effects upon our physiology and our emotions. This information handout explains the physiological effects associated with different breathing types and provides instructions for relaxed breathing.

How breathing affects feelings handout Use with clients who are anxious, or who would benefit from learning soothing and grounding skills. How Breathing Affects Feelings (angled) Want to edit, adapt or personalize this resource? Choose an editable version and customize to suit your client. How Breathing Affects Feelings (Full resource pack)



Full resource pack (PDF)


Exercise only (PDF)


Editable version (PPT)


Translation Template



Anxious clients are often unaware of the profound physiological effects related to breathing. How Breathing Affects Feelings is an information sheet which gives a clear description of the causes and consequences of hyperventilation. It outlines what happens to blood oxygenation levels when we breathe normally, when we exercise, and when we breathe in an anxious way. Finally, it also includes a calm diaphragmatic breathing exercise designed to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and to promote relaxation and soothing. Use this information sheet with clients who are anxious, or with any clients who would benefit from learning a soothing and grounding skill and understanding why breathing calmly is so important.


This is a Psychology Tools information handout. Suggested uses include:

  • Client handout – use as a psychoeducation resource
  • Discussion point – use to provoke a discussion and explore client beliefs
  • Therapist learning tool – improve your familiarity with a psychological construct
  • Teaching resource – use as a learning tool during training


  • Cannon, W. B. (1920). Bodily changes in pain, hunger, fear, and rage. D. Appleton & Company.