Slow "Diaphragmatic" Breathing for Relaxation

The way that we breathe is a reflection of our physical, mental, and emotional states. When we feel anxious and stressed out, especially for an extended period of time, we tend to breathe rapidly and often, using only the upper part of our chest, resulting in less oxygen flow within our bodies. When we feel calm and relaxed, we tend to breathe from our diaphragm muscle, located just above the stomach. Diaphragmatic breathing allows our lungs to expand and bring more oxygen into our bodies; as a result, we feel more relaxed and better equipped to handle stress. Follow the links below to learn how to practice diaphragmatic breathing on your own. 

University of TX, Austin breathing: video
Ithaca College breathing: audio
University of Wisconsin, Madison breathing: audio (Gentle Harp)
University of Wisconsin, Madison breathing: audio (Nature Sounds)
University of Denver breathing: video
University of CA, San Diego (in Korean) breathing: audio
University of CA, San Diego (in Japanese) breathing: audio

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Muscle tension often goes hand in hand with feelings of stress and anxiety. Without realizing it, we may be clenching our fists, grinding our teeth, or tensing our shoulders when we feel this way. Progressive muscle relaxation teaches us how to be connected with these physical symptoms and how to release this tension. When we reduce the physical tension, we then reduce emotional stress and anxiety.

Ithaca College muscle relaxation: audio
University of San Diego muscle relaxation: audio
University of CA, Riverside muscle relaxation: audio (male voice)
University of CA, Riverside muscle relaxation: audio (female voice)
University of CA, Riverside muscle relaxation: audio

Guided Imagery

Guided imagery is a gentle but powerful technique that focuses and directs the imagination toward a relaxed, focused state. It is based on the concept that your body and mind are connected. This relaxed state may aid in healing, learning, creativity and performance. It may help you feel more in control of your emotions and thoughts, which may improve your attitude, health, and sense of well-being.

Ithaca College

guided imagery: audio (beach scene)

University of CA, Riverside

guided imagery: audio (Lapping Waves)
guided imagery: audio (The Lake)

University of CA, Riverside guided imagery: audio (mountain)
University of Maine

guided imagery: audio (In the Forest; male voice)
guided imagery: audio (In the Forest; female voice)

University of Maine

guided imagery: audio (Walk on the Beach; male voice)
guided imagery: audio (Walk on the Beach; female voice)