The Deep Breathing Seminar took place Friday, Oct. 25 in the CSU.
This seminar was presented by graduate student Firdavs Khaydarov. Khaydarov is in the two-year clinical psychology graduate program at Minnesota State University, Mankato. He is currently doing his practicum at the Counseling Center.
He most often sees students one on one in the Counseling Center under supervision of a doctor, but he also practices clinical psychology in group settings.
For part of his program, he presented information based on different modules that all deal with tackling stress. Deep breathing is a more physical aspect of tackling stress. Listeners were informed that there are two types of breathing that humans use. One is chest breathing, or thoracic breathing. The second is diaphragmatic breathing, or “stomach breathing”.
Most people subconsciously fill their chest with air while they breathe. Using the diaphragmatic breathing method, a person’s diaphragm contracts causing their stomach to rise rather than their chest.
Khaydarov explained that one can use diaphragmatic breathing as a mechanism to cope with stress. This method of breathing slows the heart rate and brings more oxygen to the rest of one’s body. It also strengthens the diaphragm, allowing one to breathe more.
Practicing diaphragmatic breathing every day is recommended. He suggests starting by laying on your back in a relaxed position with your hand on your stomach.
As you breathe, focus on bringing the air into your abdomen rather than your chest. If the hand on your stomach is rising, you know you are practicing the diaphragmatic technique. Inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. Your nose filters the air we breathe, so it is important to inhale using your nose so that you are getting the purest air possible. Do this exercise for five to 10 minutes each day, in the morning or in the evening.
You can start out by doing it in smaller time increments, for example two to four minutes in the morning and evening, and then work your way up to longer increments and multiple times per day.
Khaydarov suggested trying it before a test. He explained, “When you are in a stressful situation like a test, we tend to lose our way of thinking. It becomes difficult to recall what you might need for taking a test. You need to recall the material you just learned.”
There are many reasons why diaphragmatic breathing is important. If one is having a hard time coping with stress, they could try the method presented by Khaydarov. It is a simple and effective way to tackle stress that many college students face.