#StudiousSeptember: Learning to Breathe

1 Oct

College can be a stressful time in life. For most students, the stress is inevitable. Whether you’re facing difficult-to-deal-with professors, cramming for exams, keeping up with homework, meeting project deadlines, managing relationships, running errands, working part-time, paying bills, struggling with traffic, stretching groceries to make it until the end of the week, walking in a crowded place in the sun, facing a tight budget, waiting for a ride during rush hour… What else? You name it!

I too struggled with stress early on in my college career, and luckily came across a professor who changed my life for good. In the fall of my junior year here at the University of Arizona, I enrolled to take Psychology of Death and Loss with Dr. Patti Harada and knew after the first day of class that I was going to love it. Throughout the course of the semester, Dr. Harada would have us do breathing exercises to get us in the right mindset for class since we would be discussing sensitive topics. The exercise lasted about five minutes on average. During that time, we were instructed to close our eyes and focus on breathing, while Dr. Harada very softly spoke to us in a gentle and soothing voice. After a few lectures, I really began to notice how beneficial the deep breathing exercises were for me, so I began to incorporate it into my daily schedule. At the time, I was struggling to keep up in a few of my classes, but found myself less stressed when I took the time to take a deep breath.

Also, as a psychology major, I have learned a great deal about the methods used in relieving stress. I not too long ago looked into a study conducted by Dr. Herbert Benson in which he discovered what he coined as the “relaxation response.” The relaxation response is a physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress, in which one will notice a decrease in heart rate, blood pressure, rate of breathing, muscle tension, ultimately allowing the individual to reach a state of complete relaxation.

I hope that you all give this a shot! You won’t be disappointed!



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