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The Counseling Center


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Feeling Stressed? - Breathe

I know, you are breathing right now. Good. Keep doing it. Effective breathing will lower your stress level. Sometimes when stressed, people find they are actually holding their breath or breathing shallowly. That’s actually counterproductive, often increasing anxiety and muscle tension. So try something different. Breathe through your nose and feel the air move all the way down to your belly. Pause. Then gently let the air flow back out. With each breath out, let your shoulders drop a little. Do it again. Even a few seconds of this can help. Check and see if that helped a bit.

If you want more help at learning to breathe effectively, try using some of ourĀ breathing exercises. See if one works for you. You can practice these so you develop a habit of deeper breathing that will lower stress, improve concentration, and stimulate alertness. Generally, it’ll just make you feel better.

Once you get used to breathing more deeply, you may want to try activities that will increase your lung capacity or you may want to skip the exercises above and just move right to such activities. Such activities take more effort but will pay off in a lot of ways. Among them are yoga, stretching, Tai Chi, and aerobic activity (walking, running, swimming, biking, etc). Once you really get into this breathing habit, you won’t want to give it up.

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Contact Information

The Counseling Center
5721 Cutler Health Center
Orono, Maine 04469
Phone: (207) 581-1392 | Fax: (207) 581-4975
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
207.581.1110
A Member of the University of Maine System