One of the most effective ways to handle stress is to consciously relax, pay attention to your body (it tells you what it needs…sometimes it even revolts!), and breathe.  By doing so it positively affects your brain. Breathing sends positive chemicals to the brain that it needs to regulate emotion and the survival instinct that is active at the moment. It strengthens the anterior cingulate, which is responsible for regulating emotion and helping you achieve peace and balance.


Start by scanning your body and deliberately reducing muscle tension.  Use deep breathing and progressive relaxation techniques.

  • This kind of relaxation reduces the neurochemicals that stimulate stress.
  • This practice is even more effective with appropriate music.
  • Relaxation improves cognitive skills and improves your sense of well-being.


Body Scans

These types of activities can be found on various websites.  Google “ten minute body scans.” You can select various lengths for these exercises.  Choose a brief one and then add time as you become more accustomed to the habit. Here is an example.

Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing can be done when you feel tension.  Simply stop and take ten deep breaths.  Try to take ten deep breaths at the top of every hour.

Try the 7/11 technique:

  • Breathe in for 7 seconds.
  • Hold for 2 seconds.
  • Breathe out for 11 seconds.

Most importantly, feel your diaphragm expand to its fullest point. Fill your lungs completely. Progressively relax you muscles from head to toe with each breath.

Photo by Ale Romo Photography on Unsplash