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Stress Reduction Techniques

Throughout this section of the website we have shared a number of simple exercises intended to help students recognize their level of stress or distress and begin to strategize about coping.

Here we provide a battery of simple, proven stress-reduction techniques including both physical exercises involving conscious efforts to control breathing and relax muscles and mental exercises to focus the mind in the moment.

Research has shown that relaxation techniques are an effective way to reduce not only stress, but also help to relieve many of the symptoms associated with mental health disorders.

Tips for Incorporating Relaxation Exercises

  • These techniques can be used at any time, and may be especially helpful to try in advance of mid-terms, final exams, standardized tests or other events that may be stressful for a significant percentage of students. 
  • Even returning to class after a vacation period is an opportunity to use a stress reduction technique to relax and refocus.
  • The entire class can experience an exercise together to see how little time and effort is required, after which students can be encouraged to try it on their own.
  • Students can also be “assigned” an exercise as homework (for extra credit if applicable), including being encouraged to journal about the experience.