Main content

    Dementia Symptoms & Caregiver Strategies: Mindful Breathing

    In times of stress, depression and anxiety, a simple breathing exercise has proven to be highly effective:

    Sit comfortably and take a slow, deep breath.
    Notice the difference in temperature between you and the air flowing into you.

    Notice the sensation of the air on your skin.
    Follow this breath with close attention, all the way into your body.

    Then, try to find that moment where this in-breath becomes an out-breath.
    Where does that turn happen, exactly?
    Your body knows exactly when to do this.

    Now, follow this relaxing out-breath.
    Notice the sensations of this breath flowing up and out of your body.
    Notice the temperature of the air that comes out.

    Try to find where this out-breath turns back into an in-breath.
    This is mindful breathing.
    Do this for 5 more breaths.
    Try not to influence the speed of breathing, so you can discover your own body’s rhythm.

    Try to find ways to remind yourself to do this mindful breathing practice in the morning, at night and as many times in between. You could put up sticky notes, set an alarm, etc.
    It takes a while for new habits to take root, so try to stick to it, even if you don’t feel like it.
    After some time, you will find yourself becoming less emotionally reactive, more relaxed and focused.

    Created by Ymke Dioquino, MS, MFTI for the Ray Dolby Brain Health Center

    Cognitive Impairment can have many causes. The patient’s doctor should be consulted to determine a specific diagnosis and treatment options. But whatever the cause, the symptoms are often alike, and the Caregiver Strategies are often similar.

    The information in the resources listed above was compiled by the Ray Dolby Brain Health Center through clinical experience and commonly available published materials. For information on additional Caregiver Strategies, go to: