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Managing the demands of being a student, along with trying to maintain a social life and relationship with your family, can be a stressful experience. While some stress can be good for you and may help you to stay sharp and motivated, too much stress can result in feelings of anxiety, heightened physical concerns such as muscle tension or headaches, problems with sleeping, procrastination, and poor academic performance. Relaxation can be a key component in managing stress and becoming a successful student.

Learning to relax can be accomplished in many ways. Developing a regular relaxation routine can help you to manage your overall level of stress while also providing you with the tools to handle unexpected events. As odd as it may sound, remember that learning to relax requires patience and practice. You may choose to learn these techniques on your own, or you can visit the Drexel University Counseling Center to work with a professional counselor on developing a relaxation lifestyle.

Techniques and Suggestions

  • Learn How to Breathe
    When you are not relaxed, your breathing may be short and labored. Slowing down your breathing is a key first step in learning to relax. We have included two basic breathing exercises for you to try.

  • Relaxing Your Muscles
    Muscle tension is a common complaint of people who have difficulty relaxing. Through the careful use of techniques such as Progressive Muscle Relaxation, you can learn how to systematically relax and gain control over those aching muscles.
  • Practice Meditation
    When you hear the word meditation, you may think about sitting in a cross-legged position while chanting over and over. However, meditation can mean any number of practices that encourage you to remove yourself from a situation and enter into an alternative state of consciousness. The use of repetitive tasks can be an integral part of meditation, but it does not necessarily have to involve chanting. You may find that doing anything in a rhythmic, repetitive fashion helps you to relax and calm yourself. This may include walking, writing, exercising, or something as simple as counting to 10 (similar to counting sheep at night if you can’t sleep). The key is to focus your mind elsewhere, and doing so can help to relax you.
  • Listen to Music
    Music can have a powerful effect on our mood. Certain songs may inspire you to action, while others may have a soothing effect. Identify songs, artists or genres that help you to slow down and relax. When you know what works for you, take time for yourself to listen to the music and relax!
  • Learn to Visualize Yourself as Relaxed
    Another technique for relaxation involves imagining yourself in an environment where you feel comfortable and peaceful. For some, this may be at a favorite location such as a beach or mountain, while for others it may involve being with family or your partner. Once you have identified your stress-free spot, you can use it in the future to help relax yourself. Close your eyes and picture yourself in that location. Experience the sounds and smells and feelings that come from such a wonderful place. If you allow yourself to do this, even for 5 minutes at a time, you will be surprised at how relaxed you may feel.

For More Help

For more information or assistance, please contact the Drexel University Counseling Center at (215) 895-1415, or e-mail

In the future, more information and resources about relaxation will be available on this web site, so please check back!

The content provided here is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment, nor should it replace the consultation of a trained medical or mental health professional. Please note that outside links are not under our control, and we cannot guarantee the content contained on them.