top of page

Strategies

Coping strategies for mental health encompass a wide range of breathing techniques and regulation methods. While not all may be equally effective for you, identify those that work best for you in managing your mental health challenges.

Breathing Techniques

29.png

5-Finger Breathing

Benefits: Simple, portable stress relief (all in five breaths!).

Science: Focuses attention on the breath and body, promoting relaxation.

Steps:
1. Hold one hand out, palm up.
2. Use your other index finger to trace up your thumb as you inhale slowly.
3. Trace down the other side of your thumb as you exhale slowly.
4. Repeat steps 2-3 for each finger (index, middle, ring, pinky).
5. Repeat with the other hand, or stop after completing all five fingers.

30.png

Triangle Breathing Technique

Benefits: Calms the mind and body, reduces anxiety.

Science: Controlled inhales and exhales activate the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest).

Steps:
1. Sit comfortably with a straight spine. You can close your eyes or focus on a point in front of you.
2. Inhale slowly through your nose for a count of 3 (imagine the first side of a triangle).
3. Hold your breath for a count of 3 (imagine the top of the triangle).
4. Exhale slowly through your mouth or nose for a count of 3 (imagine the final side of the triangle).
5. Repeat for several minutes, focusing on the smooth flow of your breath.

28.png

Belly Breathing Technique

Benefits: Relaxation, stress reduction, improved lung function (all in a short breath!).

Science: Engages the diaphragm, a muscle below the lungs, for deeper breaths and more oxygen intake.

Steps:
1. Find a comfy spot, sitting or lying down.
2. Place your hands on your belly.
3. Inhale slowly through your nose, feeling your belly inflate like a balloon.
4. Exhale slowly through pursed lips or your nose, feeling your belly deflate.
5. Repeat for a few minutes, focusing on your breath.

31.png

4-7-8 Breathing Technique

Benefits: Reduces anxiety, promotes relaxation, improves sleep quality.

Science: Combines deep, controlled breathing with a calming mental focus.

Steps:
1. Sit comfortably with your back straight.
2. Place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth.
3. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whooshing sound.
4. Close your lips and inhale quietly through your nose for a count of four.
5. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
6. Exhale completely through your mouth for a count of eight, making a whooshing sound again.
7. Repeat for several cycles (3-4 repetitions to start).

26.png

Lazy 8 Breathing

Benefits: Calms mind and body, improves focus (all in a figure eight!).

Science: Combines deep breathing with visual focus, activating calming parts of the brain.

Steps:
1. Get comfy, sitting or lying.
2. Imagine a lazy eight symbol (∞) or draw one on paper.
3. Trace one loop with your finger while inhaling deeply.
4. Trace the other loop while exhaling slowly.
5. Repeat for a few minutes, following your breath and the figure eight.

27.png

Square/Box Breathing

Benefits: Calms mind & body, boosts focus (all in a square!).

Science: Slow, controlled breaths activate the relaxation response.

Steps:
1. Get comfy, sitting or lying.
2. Inhale slowly through your nose for a count of 4.
3. Hold your breath for a count of 4.
4. Exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of 4.
5. Hold your breath after exhaling for a count of 4.
6. Repeat for a few minutes, focusing on each breath like a side of the square.

Regulation Methods

Nexus Website (768 x 1500 px) (1).png

Feeling overwhelmed? Anchor yourself in the present with this quick exercise:

  1. Breathe: Take a few deep breaths to calm your system.

  2. Look: Name 5 things you see.

  3. Feel: Notice 4 things you can touch.

  4. Hear: Identify 3 sounds around you.

34.png

Feeling stressed? Tap your way to calm!

  1. Focus: Briefly state your worry (e.g., "Presentation jitters").

  2. Rate: How intense (0-10)?

  3. Tap & Talk: Tap acupressure points while saying calming phrases about your worry.

  4. Repeat: Tap through points until you feel some relief.

More Resources:

bottom of page