“Breathing for relaxation” can calm stress, anxiety

This message to all students has been approved by Dr. Sally McRorie, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.

For students who may be experiencing stress because of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the FSU Student Resilience Project shares the “breathing for relaxation” technique. Researchers have identified this breathing technique as a holistic response to stress that focuses your mind on your breath. The technique can help you cope with stress by regulating your emotions.

Belly breathing is one way to breathe for relaxation. With this technique, you take full breaths deep into your lungs by using air to push out your belly. This may help relieve tension and relax you into sleep.

Follow these steps for belly breathing:

  1. Sit comfortably or lie down.
  2. Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest.
  3. Breathe slowly and deeply through your nose, feeling your stomach push against your hand as air completely fills your lungs. Your chest should be as still as possible.
  4. Exhale through your lips, keeping your mouth and jaw relaxed. Repeat for five minutes.

Here are some tips for this technique:

  1. Find a quiet space to practice relaxation breathing and being mindful.
  2. With your hand on your stomach, allow the belly to push the hand up on the inhale.
  3. Breathe slowly to avoid hyperventilating.
  4. Think about slow, purposeful deep breaths for five minutes.

For an example of breathing for relaxation, you can view this video developed by the Student Resilience Project. The following YouTube videos are also recommended for helping to calm anxiety and reduce stress:

For more skills and exercises, visit the Student Resilience Project website.