Welcome to UMSL Counseling Services’ Virtual Relaxation Room. We have created this resource to help UMSL students cope with stress and relax, which promotes better health and improved academic success.
Please see other areas of our site to explore changes you can make to your life to reduce your stress, or come in a talk to us about how to decrease anxiety and improve your coping skills. This space is dedicated to helping you relax RIGHT NOW. For relaxation on the go, check out our Apps page.
We encourage you to select one of the activities below and do it wholly until it is complete. This means closing other computer windows/tabs, silencing your cell phone, and turning off the television or music, and concentrating solely on relaxation.
Many of the exercises we offer focus on breathing and allowing stressful thoughts to pass through our minds. These thoughts are sometimes intrusive and can get in the way of relaxation. It may be helpful to keep a pad of paper nearby to jot down tasks or concerns so you can release the thought, knowing that you’ll attend to it after you’ve relaxed.
Focus your attention on this animation and breathe according to its rhythm: expanding your lungs and breathing deeply as the drawing expands, then releasing the breath and relaxing your chest as the drawing contracts. You may wish to pair the animation with relaxing music or quiet nature sounds. If intrusive thoughts or worries distract you, gently guide your attention back to the animation, using the Parking Lot if you need to in order to let the thoughts pass.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
The idea here is to pay attention to your body as you tense and release muscle groups in turn. Your body will be more relaxed when you’re done, which in turn relaxes your mind.
Mindfulness teaches us to be fully present in each moment and accept without judgement what we are thinking and experiencing. Mindfulness is a practice, which means the goal is not to be free of worries or intrusive thoughts, but to constantly practice observing them and allowing them to pass. So don’t worry if you’re “doing it right” or if your thoughts feel overwhelming, just keep practicing. Research shows that mindfulness meditations are powerful weapons against stress, so we’ve included an array of videos lasting from three to 20 minutes.
Some folks swear that watching Bob Ross paint brings peace to their soul quicker than anything else. Take a break and watch him make you some happy little clouds.