Purposefully relaxing

Research tells us that relaxing means to reduce your heart rate, slow your breathing rate and increase the calming chemicals in your body that can override stress chemicals. A combination of approaches that elicit the relaxation response include deep abdominal breathing, focus on a soothing word (such as peace or calm), visualization of tranquil scenes, yoga and tai chi 1.

In a higher education context, relaxation during the day could include:

  • using the seminar breaks or breaks between classes to relax - try not to be a slave to your technology
  • taking regular breaks from study to slowly and deeply breathe in and out
  • closing your eyes and consciously relaxing your face, neck and back muscles.

Relaxation at night improves your sleep quality.

Sleep brings the stress chemicals in your body back to baseline levels and is a key factor in sustaining effective study throughout the semester or a busy exam period.

If anxiety is preventing good quality sleep, take some time away from study just before bed. Try reading a novel for 10 minutes to stop your brain swirling, tense and relax each of your muscles, and/or listen to relaxation music.


1. Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School Understanding the stress response (18 March 2016). Retrieved from Harvard.edu.

Information that appears on the Wellness website is general information only and is not intended to be medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or instruction. UQ Law encourages students who have health-related concerns or questions to seek professional healthcare assistance, either from the student services provided at UQ or from their general practitioner.

Last updated:
20 April 2018