Reduce Anxiety

  • Erik Peper San Francisco State University
  • Richard Harvey
  • Yaneth Cuellar San Francisco State University
  • Catalina Membrila San Francisco State University
Keywords: anxiety, Respiration, stress management, breathing, posture, education


More than half of college students self-report some kind of anxiety and depression. This study reports how a university course that incorporated structured self-experience practices may reduce symptoms of self-reported anxiety associated with college stress and strain. Ninety-eight college Junior and Senior students were enrolled in a Holistic Health class that focused on “whole-person” Holistic Health curriculum and included the exploration of psychobiology of stress, the role of posture, and the psychophysiology of respiration. The class included daily self-practices of awareness of stress, muscle relaxation, diaphragmatic breathing, and posture awareness. The students were instructed to apply these techniques whenever they become aware of, or experienced, sensations of stress or dysfunctional breathing during the day. After 5 weeks of practice, the students self-reported a 73% reduction in anxiety, 68% reduction in stress, 27% reduction in neck and shoulder discomfort, 26% reduction in abdominal discomfort; 18% of abdominal discomfort and 16% reduction in menstrual cramps. We recommend that schools incorporated a “whole-persons” self-care approach within their curriculum to teach students skills to prevent and reduce anxiety and stress and that therapists teach these skill before beginning bio/neurofeedback.

Author Biography

Erik Peper, San Francisco State University
Professor Institute for Holistic Health Studies Department of Health Education


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Research Papers