by Meg Adem

Take a breath

We tend to take our breathing for granted; however it is an integral part of our life. When we are resting, we average from 12-20 breaths a minute which is about 17,000-30,000 breaths a day. Imagine then, how many breaths your son must take with his busy and highly active day?

When we are stressed or anxious, our breathing rates can fall out of sync. This can result in over-breathing and an imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in our system, leading us to feel out-of-sorts or on edge.  

So what can we do for ourselves and our boys who report to us feeling overwhelmed, or flustered, or out of breath?

Learning a simple breathing technique can really help us handle pressure. If we practise and model a breathing technique when stressed, then our boys might follow us and benefit! You might also feel better and more in control as a parent, adding to further peace at home.

Two Steps to Retrain our Breathing

The following two steps are ones you and your son can use when you feel flustered, frustrated or anxious in an effort to keep your breathing rate regular and even, and to calm your body down.

  1. Inhale for 2 beats
  2. Exhale for 4 beats

Try to follow these steps for 1 minute, or until you feel calmer.


Not only will you feel as though you have control over your breathing rate, you will also maintain a better balance of oxygen in your system. Breathing techniques can be used anywhere without bringing attention to yourself , whether it be in a queue, or a crowd, or at a party. They are extremely useful without being overly visible.

Breathing Retraining is a skill – so practise!

Breathing retraining is a skill. You and your son will need to practise to gain the most benefits, so make time each day (or week) to practice inhaling for 2 beats and exhaling for 4 beats and encourage your son to do the same.

Make the time. This means that when you really need it, you will be able to rely on your strengthened abilities to take control.

Help your son get on board

For many, the concept of focusing on our breathing seems so trivial. How could it make a difference? However, breathing retraining is worth the practice.

If you think your son is closed off to the concept, perhaps ask someone in your son’s life who is a role model – they might be able to introduce breathing retraining to him in a manner that’s more appealing.


Brought to you by Brighton Grammar School

Meg Adem is a Science and Psychology teacher, writer and Head of House at Brighton Grammar, an all-boys school in Melbourne. This article is about


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