Stress is part of the human experience, and in certain circumstances it can provide extra motivation or help us out of high-risk situations by temporarily increasing awareness and improving physical performance.  However, chronic stress has been linked to a myriad of physical illnesses and has a negative impact on mood and mental health. 

  • 43% of adults experienced adverse health effects from stress
  • 75-90% of visits to a physician's office are for stress-related conditions and complaints
  • Stress has been linked to the 6 leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide

Developing the ability to relax is essential to effectively mitigating the impacts of stress and anxiety.

Developing your Relaxation Response

The "relaxation response" is your body's ability to experience a decrease in heart rate, respiration rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, and oxygen consumption.  Learning to relax is a skill that requires time and practice.  Benefits include a reduction of stress, lowered anxiety and burnout, increased energy, improved concentration, a stronger immune system, and increased self-confidence.

Getting Started

There are a wide range of relaxation techniques to choose from.  Explore a few to figure out works best for you.  By taking a class or joining a group, you will learn from people who are more practiced at the skill, while also receiving support, guidance, and a social interaction.  If you a’re short on time, think about learning a breathing technique that you can practice anywhere, anytime, as you go about your day.  Or, dedicate a few minutes each day to find a quiet space, close your eyes, and relax.  There are a multitude of online resources and apps that make it easy to practice breathing, guided relaxation exercises, and meditation on your own.  The links below will get you started.

Special Offer: Free Headspace Pro Account until May 2022

With hundreds of guided exercises for meditation, sleep, focus, and movement, Headspace can help you start and end your days. The best part? Amherst College students get it all for free thanks to the AAS and the Mental Health Fund.

         Follow these 3 easy steps for full access during this period:

  1. follw this link: Amherst College Headspace sign-up 
  2. Register for a headspace accout using your AC email
  3. Dowload the app on your prefered device

On Campus


41 Random Facts About Stress
Online Relaxation Exercises