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Breathing Techniques for Improved Wellbeing

Jun 9, 2020|

Now more than ever, wellbeing in the workplace is gaining recognition and understanding. As businesses and individuals adapt to different ways of working in these unique times, we all need to be mindful of what we can do to ensure that we’re looking after ourselves.

In collaboration with Bisley dealer partner and workplace experts obo, who are not only passionate advocates of healthy workplaces with a focus on creating holistic workplace experiences, but also sponsors of record holding GB freediver Helena Bourdillon, we were delighted to hold an online workshop about improving wellbeing through breathing.

As part of obo’s fantastic wOw series (workable wellbeing), Helena took us through the huge health benefits that better breathing habits can bring, including improved sleep, increased focus and performance. Her expertise was truly invaluable, particularly at the moment.

If you missed out on the session but are interested in learning more about Helena’s breathing techniques, here is a taste of the workshop with some key insights…


Be curious and take stock of how you’re breathing each day. Developing good breathing habits can positively affect both our physical and mental health while focusing on breathing can help us to manage stress and anxiety.


Our nose and sinuses take up around 30% of the space in our skulls. Their job is to clean, warm and moisten the air that we breathe so that it’s in the possible condition to be absorbed through the lungs. We don’t get these benefits when breathing through our mouths.


Focus on taking in the same volume of air with each breath, and for the same duration. Practise to find your rhythm. To promote further calmness and relaxation, make sure your exhale is longer than your inhale (without causing tension).


Try to breathe as quietly as possible. Avoid sighing, yawning, sniffing, nervous coughing or even snoring as all of these are forms of over-breathing (hyperventilation) which rob our bodies of oxygen.


Practise these relaxation exercises for a daily recharge.


Breathing through the nose takes air into all areas of the lungs, including the bottom which we ordinarily miss out when mouth breathing.

Do this exercise first thing in the morning to clean out any stale air that’s in your lungs after sleeping. Stale and moist air can be a breeding ground for respiratory infections.

  • Place your arms out by your sides at chest level
  • Thrust your arms up in one single movement as you take a deep breath, filling your lower lungs, mid chest and upper chest.
  • Repeat 3-5 times


If you’re feeling tired at points during your working day – maybe it’s the ‘afternoon slump’ – this exercise can help you feel more awake and alert.

  • Place your elbows by your waist with your hands in loose fists by your shoulders.
  • Inhale rapidly while extending your arms up. Open your fists at the top and stretch your hands our wide.
  • Exhale rapidly while bringing your arms back down to your sides and closing your hands into fists.
  • Repeat 15 times.
  • Pause for 20 seconds while breathing normally to observe your body.
  • Repeat.


This exercise stimulates the ‘rest, digest and repair’ part of your nervous system, helping you to relax and rest.

  • Lie on your right side and close your right nostril.
  • Breathe through your other nostril, allowing time for the sinuses to drain and breathing to become easier.


Helena Bourdillon survived and triumphed over chronic depression and now free-dives to depths of -76m. Helena has 7 National records for depth and has represented GB at the World Championships four times. Incorporating the knowledge and skills that Helena learnt during her recovery process, along with those gained from freediving, Helena holds talks and workshops on how the techniques can be easily translated into healthier lifestyles and businesses.


Discover more useful ideas for your individual and workplace wellbeing on the obolife blog. obo focus on the human side of the office and the user’s relationship with not only the environment within which they work, but also their relationship with their company, their brand, culture and the overall wellbeing. Using intelligent design, they help to foster an inclusive and collaborative environment that complements the unique identity of each business and perfectly aligns with company values, culture and brand.

obo’s Workable Wellbeing series is aimed at supporting and guiding people in their places of work. If you are interested in attending the next workshop, please get in touch.

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