Stress Management

Have you ever noticed that when you are highly focused or intently concentrating on a topic or problem for a long period of time you begin to feel lightheaded? Do you ever feel dizzy right before or during a test?

Often when people experience stress or anxiety, they begin breathing shallowly and do not take in an optimum level of oxygen. When this happens, they could become lightheaded or dizzy.

One way to quickly reverse the dizziness and to help reduce stress is to take six to eight deep, full breaths. Of course, if the dizziness continues, see your doctor for a check-up.

One technique that shifts your focus to your breathing for a few minutes, reduces anxiety and stress, and moves oxygen throughout your body is the six-seven-six technique.

Six-Seven-Six Technique

  • As you breathe in through your nose, count to six. Make sure to breath deeply and fill your entire abdomen with air.
  • Hold the breath for a count of seven.
  • Breathe out through your mouth for a count of six.
Use this technique when you are:
  • anxious;
  • worried;
  • imagining the worst; and
  • thinking any negative thoughts
Another breathing technique that is effective is the positive thinking technique.

Postive Thinking Technique:
  • As you breathe in, say, “I am calm”
  • As you breathe out, say, “And I am relaxed”
Slowly and deeply breathe and say this to yourself over and over. Or say something like, ‘I am smart. I’ll be fine’ as you breathe in and out.

Trigger Words

Trigger words can help stop the negative thinking downward cycle that can occur when we are feeling stressed or anxious. Whenever you catch yourself having negative thoughts, like ‘I’ll never pass this test,’ ‘I can’t believe I ever thought I could make it in college,’ or ‘I am so stupid’, catch yourself and say:
  • “STOP”
  • “No. I won’t go there.”
  • “Don’t do this to yourself”
  • “That is not true. I can do this!”
Create your own trigger words that will work best for you.


Centering is one of the simplest and most common forms of contemplative practice. The “center” refers to a relaxed yet focused state of mind. Centering practice is especially helpful in the midst of strong emotional states such as excitement or anxiety, and it is often used by athletes, public speakers, actors or anyone who wants to feel stable and prepared before a potentially stressful event.

Anything that helps you feel tranquil and aware can become your centering practice.

Common Centering Methods

  • Count numbers, such as counting down from 10 to dissipate anger.
  • Repeat a word or phrase, such as a prayer or affirmation.
  • Smile and relax your body.
  • Go for a walk; get out into a different environment.
  • Stretch.
  • Close your eyes and breathe deeply.
  • Count your breaths.
  • Doodle or write.
  • Carry or place near yourself a visual reminder to stay centered, such as a quote or image.
  • Use sound to bring yourself back to your center. Periodically ring a bell, chime, or other gentle reminder.
  • Persistence is an important aspect of centering practice. Purposefully centering yourself many times throughout the day, even when you are not feeling particularly emotional or in need of centering, will help to deepen your practice.

Helpful Web Sites

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