“Aww man…I am stressed to the max!”

You’re UTW (up the walls)…up to high doh…snowed under…swimming without a paddle…it happens. HOWEVER, at times like this, forget about this approach…


…and just breeeeeeeathe.

With the pressures and strains of daily living taking their toll on us and resulting in fatigue, stress and anxiety, sometimes we forget to take some time out and slow down a bit as well as clearing our head. As Karen Duggan, Kilkenny camogie star and Irish soccer International mentions, it’s important to just take a step back sometimes. Forget about the ‘minus b formula’, close your eyes and…breeeeeath.

The following is an exercise which only takes a few minutes to complete and will leave you feeling calm and relaxed. It counteracts sad feelings, anxiety and stress and helps you to concentrate and sleep. Ideally it should be carried out for 15 minutes but even 5 minutes and you should see a difference!


1.      The Breaths

The secret to 7/11 breathing is quite simple; the ‘out’ breaths must be longer than the ‘in’ breaths (ideally about half the time again). ‘7/11’ is an easy way to remember the breathing technique as it should take roughly 7 seconds to inhale and 11 seconds to exhale. You will find that you will probably breather out more gently than you inhale.

2.      Do it Anywhere!

The joy of this exercise if you can do it anywhere!! Do it in the car, on the bus, waiting for class to start…you name it! All you have to do is concentrate on counting the seconds. This will also help to keep your mind distracted until the timing becomes more automatic.

3.      Practice!

The more you practice this technique the more automatic it comes. Begin with smaller amounts of time and try to build up to 10 or 15 minutes. Make sure that your timing or rhythm does not go astray. Once you have got the hang of it, start imagining yourself in different environments. Picture yourself somewhere peaceful, at the beach, in a field, in your bed or lying down somewhere peaceful. If you can focus on the image whilst maintaining your breathing technique you will be sure to feel really de-stressed after!

Get practicing…and remember…


Included here is an interview with Karen Duggan who has played soccer at an international level at underage and with the senior panel. She has also participated in the Champions League with her club team, Peaumount. During her Leaving Cert Karen mentions the importance of not getting bogged down and taking a step back at times. She also found that exercise was a great reliever of stress.



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