Reduce Stress in Under 2 Minutes

A staggering 85% of students feel stressed on a daily basis according to a College Stress and Mental Health survey conducted by the Associated Press and MTV in 2009. In the months leading up to graduation, it is no surprise that these numbers increase. Whether you are stressed about the job and internship search or just feeling the end-of-year crunch, below is a technique to give you quick 2 minute break from it all.

The 4-7-8 Exercise
This simple breathing exercise shared widely by author Dr. Andrew Weil is quick, easy, and can be done anywhere. The first few times, it may feel strange. If you stick with it and give it a real shot, though, you will find that you naturally start to relax. Below are the basic steps:

  • Breath out completely.
  • Inhale through your nose while counting (silently) to four.
  • Hold your breath while counting to seven.
  • Exhale while counting to eight.
  • This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

For a more advanced 4-7-8 exercise, place your tongue against the roof of your mouth right behind your upper front teeth for the entirety of the exercise. In addition, make an audible “whooshing” noise while exhaling (if you feel silly doing this, that is completely okay – laughter also reduces stress)!

Next time you are studying for a quiz, prepping for an interview, or just trying to go to sleep without having your mind race – allow yourself to try this breathing exercise and let your mind relax.

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By Amanda Helfand
Amanda Helfand Senior Assistant Director, Undergraduate Career Services Amanda Helfand