The all mighty midterm season is upon us. Whether you are going to be taking your midterms or marking them, it can be a stressful time for us all. Remaining relaxed during the midterm weeks can improve focus, reduce stress, boost working memory, and combat trouble sleeping. Here are some relaxation exercises provided by Campus Wellness to help you relax during these high-stress weeks.
Guided Imagery Relaxation Exercise
Guided imagery is a program of directed thoughts that guide your imagination toward a relaxed, focused state. This relaxed state can help you feel more in control of your emotions and thought processes. Here’s a guided imagery relaxation you could try.
Mindful Breathing Exercise
Good breathing habits can enhance your psychological and physical well-being. Lucky for you, it's quick and easy to learn these good habits. It can be helpful to practise breathing exercises twice per day over the next few weeks to ensure habit consistency. Listening to someone guide you through these breathing exercise steps using smartphone apps or websites can help you stick to the habit. Here’s a five-minute mindful breathing exercise you could try.
4-7-8 Breathing Exercise
The 4-7-8 breathing exercise is a great exercise to practice, potentially helping your heart rate or easing some of the physical symptoms of stress or anxiety. It’s a great exercise to do before you engage in challenging thinking. Here is the 4-7-8 exercise for you to practice:
- Place tip of the tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind upper front teeth
- Exhale completely through your mouth
- Close mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to count of four
- Hold your breath for a count of seven
- Exhale completely through your mouth to a count of eight
Repeat steps 1 – 5 for another 3 – 4 breaths if need be. Click here If you want to be guided through this exercise.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
The progressive muscle relaxation exercise teaches you how to relax your muscles through a two-step process. The first step is to systematically tense particular muscle groups in your body, then release the tension and notice how your muscles feel when you relax them.
Here are a few examples:
- Back: Arch your back off the floor or bed, or away from your chair for 5 seconds. Relax. Feel the anxiety and tension disappearing.
- Eyes and nose: Close your eyes as tightly as you can for 5 seconds. Relax.
- Hands: Extend arms in front of you; clench fists tightly for 5 seconds. Relax, and feel the warmth in your face.
For more examples, follow guided muscle relaxation exercises here.
Leaves on a Stream & 54321 exercises
Leaves on a stream is a diffusion exercise coming from acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). This exercise is a strategy to help separate you from your thoughts. If you want to be guided through this exercise, click here.
The 54321 exercise changes your focus of attention from panic symptoms to the logical brain. This exercise helps you get grounded in the present moment and helps get rid of the negative thoughts in your head. To try this exercise, click here.
Guidelines for practicing any form of deep relaxation
- Practice at least 20 minutes a day
- Find a quiet location
- Assume a comfortable position
- Loosen any tight garments
- Make a decision not to worry about anything
- Assume a passive detached attitude
Make sure you take advantage of these relaxation resources to help you get through your midterms. If you’d like to make an appointment with one of our Campus Wellness services, give us a call or stop in one of our offices to make an appointment.