about youPhD students are struggling, some tips, like breathing excercises to make life a bit better.

Maybe it is the time of the year, maybe it’s the era, maybe a combination. Fewer students have finished their PhD the last couple of years. One cause is Corona, stress is another one. I also hear from many PhD students that they are at the end of their tether.

To make life just a tiny bit more fun

If you don’t feel well, you tend to want to change things radically and quickly. I will never ever binge-watch Netflix again / never ever eat chocolate / never ever go to bed late anymore. Or whatever you fancy. Or you will take the drastic solution: from now on every day I will meditate / exercise / eat healthy / go to bed in time. Or whatever scenario pops up in your mind.

Unfortunately doomed to be a failure. For several reasons. That is the reason the Guardian published a list of 100 things you can do without much effort but resulting in life with just a bit more fun.

Hopefully, you will find some suggestions that appeal to you. I will start with numbers 24 and 25.

Something with immediate results: breathing techniques

Your breath is a great indicator of the state you are in. At rest, it suffices to breathe 6 to 8 times in a minute. The more you exert yourself, the more times you will breathe in a minute. The moment you experience stress, your breathing frequency is also increasing. Therefore I have included two breathing techniques for you. Pick the one you like.

Exercise 1

Take a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down. Breathe in through the nose, breathe out through the mouth. Breathe out just a bit longer than you would normally. Pause and breathe in. Keep doing this for about 5 minutes. Many experience an immediate effect and become more relaxed. Feel for yourself what the effect is. You are not a fan? Try exercise 2.

Exercise 2

Again, take a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down. Breathe in through the nose and breathe out through the nose. Just like you would do normally. The only change is to pause after you breathe out. It’s that simple. Try this out for 5 minutes and feel the effect. If you feel out of breath, you are probably trying too hard.

Are you not sure if these exercises have any effect? Use a heart rate monitor, like a Fitbit for instance. Is your heart rate decreasing? Great! It is the right exercise for you. If your heart rate increases, try another method. For example meditation, tai chi, yoga or qigong.



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