Photo of a person sitting on a bed and meditating

My Experience at a Breathe Well Workshop

This blog post is written by guest blogger Bhakti Almoula, Health & Wellness HealthyU Crew team member and third-year student studying Health & Disease.

As a student grappling with the pressures of exam season, I recently had the opportunity to attend a stress management workshop that proved to be a game-changer in navigating the overwhelming demands of academics. The workshop, designed to empower students with practical techniques, was not only timely but also incredibly beneficial.

The session kicked off with an insightful exploration of the biological aspects of stress. Understanding the body's stress response mechanism, including increased heart rate, accelerated reflexes, and changes in blood vessel activity, laid a foundation for the subsequent strategies that would be introduced.

One notable feature of the workshop was its interactive and discussion-based approach. This dynamic format encouraged participants to actively engage in the learning process, making the workshop more than just a passive information session. We were guided through a variety of activities that allowed us to put stress-relief techniques into practice immediately.

The workshop emphasized the importance of "breathing well" and introduced a helpful tool called the breathing box. This simple yet effective exercise guided inhalation and exhalation, providing a tangible method to slow down and regain composure during stressful moments.

Photo of a square with arrows illustrating the "Box Breathing" technique": Hold --> Breathe out 2-3-4 --> Hold --> Breathe in 2-3-4 and repeat

A key activity involved grounding ourselves using our senses (54321). This technique prompted us to take slow breaths while focusing on identifying our surroundings.

We did this by directing out attention to:
5 things we could see,
4 things we could touch,
3 sounds we could hear,
2 things we could smell, and,
1 thing we could taste.

This exercise not only redirected our attention but also promoted mindfulness in the present moment.

The workshop also delved into mindfulness meditation, encouraging us to focus on our five senses and gently bring our wandering minds back to the sensations around us. The inclusion of practices like body scans and guided imagery added depth to our understanding of relaxation exercises and their potential benefits.

The facilitators underscored the importance of regular practice, noting that relaxation exercises are not only beneficial during times of stress but can also enhance focus and energy levels in everyday life. Furthermore, the workshop addressed the significance of incorporating relaxation into our daily schedules. We explored the importance of balancing study time with other activities, ensuring adequate sleep, and being mindful of not over or under scheduling our days. The emphasis on scheduling study sessions during the day, as opposed to relying solely on night study, resonated with many participants.

In conclusion, the workshop provided a comprehensive toolkit of strategies that can be easily incorporated into our busy lives. From breathing exercises to mindfulness practices and the value of scheduling for balance, the workshop offered valuable insights that have made a tangible difference in my approach to exams. I now feel equipped with practical techniques to navigate stress more effectively, not only during exams but in various aspects of my life.

Register for future Breathe Well workshops this semester.

– Bhakti

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