Breathe yourself calm with this one simple gif

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Sarah Biddlecombe

In today's fast-moving, ever-scrolling, digital age, we can all benefit from taking a precious moment here and there to calm our minds.

And while long-term practises such as mindfulness and yoga can help us to achieve an elusive state of zen, there is one simple trick that can be used anywhere, at any time, to help keep us calm: breathing.

Now, a simple gif has gone viral online for offering a quick breathing exercise that promises to help viewers breathe their way to calmness in a matter of seconds.


The gif starts as a short black line on a grey background that opens up to become a triangle, before blooming into a square. It then forms a number of other shapes before growing into an octagon and collapsing back in on itself.

To get the full, calming effect, viewers are instructed to take deep breaths of air in sync with the movements.

Explaining the power of the gif to MNN, clinical psychologist Dr Christina Hibbert said, "When it comes to anxiety, one major problem is the tendency to breathe in shorter, shallow breaths, versus deep breathing.

"Deep breathing, which this image promotes, requires us to slow down, extend our inhale and exhale, and bring more oxygen to our brain and body. This can help calm and relax us."


With the average person subconsciously breathing in and out over 23,000 times per day, taking a moment to focus on deeper, longer breaths could also offer a quick and easy fix for anxious thoughts.

"When we're anxious, we are usually thinking about anything but the present moment," said Dr Hibbert. 

"Breathing with this image forces us to focus on what's happening right now - the breath - and that takes us out of our head and our worries."

You can watch the full gif and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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Sarah Biddlecombe

Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Commissioning Editor at Stylist. Follow her on Twitter

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