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Coping With Stress Through Breathing: sub-module 1 of 3 of stress management

This module will explain breathing techniques that help with stress. When we are anxious or threatened our breathing speeds up in order to get our body ready for danger. Controlling our breathing can help manage stress.

 

Tips

  • Practice regularly.Practice belly breathing regularly (i.e. 3-10 minutes, 3-5 times a day), even when you are not anxious.
  • Practice whenever you can.Practice belly breathing on the bus, at home, and on campus so you are ready to use it when you’re anxious or during a big exam.
  • Find the right count for you.If a four second count doesn’t work for you, try a three second count or a five second count.
  • Try belly breathing while lying down.Belly breathing can be difficult at first. Try lying down and placing a small object, like a book or a pillow, on your stomach. Breathe in slowly, trying to push the object up with your stomach.

Guided Belly Breathing

Watch the video or follow the steps below to learn the belly breathing technique. You can also download the Guided Belly Breathing video transcript.

When we are anxious or threatened, our breathing speeds up in order to get our body ready for danger. Relaxed breathing signals that it is time to relax. This type of breathing is slower and deeper than normal and it comes from your belly.

  1. Start by sitting comfortably in a chair or lying down on your back.
  2. Close your eyes if you are comfortable doing so.
  3. Breathe normally in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  4. Slow down your breathing. Inhale, slow and steady, to a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4 and pause for the count of 4. This is also called square breathing. If a four second count doesn’t work for you, try a three second count or a five second count.
  5. Are you belly breathing? Place one hand on your belly just below your ribs and one hand on your chest. Try to keep the top hand still as your breath should only move your bottom hand.