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Healthy coping Mechanisms (Breath Work)

Many of us have heard the terms "fight or flight" or the lesser known “freeze or fawn.” These are also known as the stress responses. It's what our body does as it prepares to confront or avoid danger, whether it’s reality or not. When appropriately invoked, the stress response helps us rise to many challenges. But trouble starts when this response is constantly provoked by less momentous, day-to-day events, such as money woes, academic stress, socially anxious feelings, job worries, or relationship problems.

We can develop healthy ways to invoke our relaxation responses to help with this stress on our body and mind. The relaxation response is a state of profound rest that can be elicited in many ways, including meditation, yoga, and muscle relaxation. Deep breathing techniques are also common, powerful, free, and readily available ways to begin this process. It’s always helpful to practice these daily to ensure we put them to use in the moments of acute stress responses.

Tips for practicing any one of the techniques:

  • Commit to a few minutes a day in the beginning; preferably at the same time each day

  • Pick a comfortable spot to sit or lay down

  • Don’t try too hard; this often makes people more tense

  • Be open to however it goes

  • Stay engaged and curious and compassionate

  • Try different ones to see which one helps you the most

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