3 Breathing Exercises You Can Do Before a Big Test

A lot of students suffer from test anxiety or stage freight. Here are three tested and proven breathing exercises you can do anywhere to help you calm down before a big event. <br><br>

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Inhale. Exhale. Although you do it without thinking, we all experience those moments where we have to remind ourselves to just breathe. Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. In fact, studies have shown that altering your breath can have a direct impact on your mood. This is because there are neurons in your brain “monitoring” the way you breathe. They trigger feelings of relaxation, attention, excitement, and even anxiety to the rest of the body.

With homework, tests, personal obligations and trying to maintain a social life, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. However, you cancontrol how your mind and body respond during high stress situations! Try one of the following breathing exercises to regulate your mood and reduce stress quickly:

(Note:For each exercise, you want to try your best to breathe from your diaphragm. Your diaphragm is a bit lower than your chest but not as low as your stomach. Think of it as a balloon underneath your rib cage.)


60 Second Method

  1. Find a comfortable spot to sit or lie down.
  2. Sit up straight or, if lying down, straighten out your spine as best you can.
  3. Softly close your eyes.
  4. Take a deep 5 second breath through your nose. Hold for one second.
  5. Exhale slowly for at least 10 seconds. (The longer you exhale, the faster you’ll soothe your nervous system, balance your emotions and relax!)
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you’ve reached 60 seconds (Using an alarm or countdown clock on your phone can help you manage timing!) 

4-7-8 Breathing

  1. Sit up straight.
  2. Breathe in deeply through your nose for 4 seconds.
  3. Hold your breath for 7 seconds. (If you can’t hold your breath for 7 seconds, do what you can. Over time you will be able to hold your breath longer!)
  4. Exhale slowly through your mouth for 8 seconds. Imagine there is a tiny hole in that balloon.
  5. Repeat for about 5-10 minutes.

Balanced Nostril Breathing

  1. Start by exhaling all your breath.
  2. Breathe in evenly through both nostrils. Inhale slowly until your feel like your lungs are full.
  3. Use the thumb of your right hand to block your right nostril.
  4. Exhale slowly out of your left nostril.
  5. Inhale slowly through your left nostril.
  6. Release your right thumb from your right nostril while using your right ring finger to block your left nostril at the same time.
  7. Exhale slowly out of your right nostril.
  8. Inhale slowly out of your right nostril.
  9. Release your right ring finger from your left nostril while using your right thumb to block your right nostril at the same time.
  10. Repeat steps 4-9 for about 3 minutes.