Ruby Wax: three minute breathing exercise

Written by
Mary Appleton

18 May 2016

18 May 2016 • by Mary Appleton

Most people can relax watching TV, playing football or at a wine bar with friends. The problem is that, when you’re about to take an exam, give a speech in front of 500 people or have an interview for a job, you can’t whip out a football or television to calm yourself.

However, if you have practised mindfulness just before these nerve-racking challenges, you’ll be ready to use this portable, three-minute breather. It travels with you, wherever you go.

There are three parts to this exercise; each element lasts a minute or so.

Three-step exercise

Widen your focus by turning every thought in your mind, inviting them all in and just letting them rip: the good, the bad, the ugly. After about a minute, let it go…

Narrow your focus to the pinpoint sensation of breathing. Zoom in on a full breath through the nose, throat, chest or abdomen, feeling your lungs expanding on the in-breath and contracting on the out-breath. After about a minute, let it go…

Widen your focus once more to your breath filling your whole body, from the top of your head, down through your body to your toes, on an inhale and on an exhale, feeling the breath empty out like giant bellows.


A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax, Penguin Life, is out now, RRP £14.99