How Breathing Tackles Stress

There’s nothing more heartbreaking than seeing a loved one battle a life-threatening disease. Kathleen Hall’s father had a stroke a couple of years ago. Now this A&P employee strives to make living a healthy lifestyle more of a priority.

“It’s become more important to me to be aware of whole-self and heart health,” Hall said.

When Hall recently started working in A&P as an HR Administrative Associate, she saw an advertisement for a program called, “Give Biofeedback a Try.” It’s a half-hour session that helps people manage stress and build resilience through monitoring breathing patterns with biofeedback technology.

“Finding out that there is a resource out there that helps staff learn to be more self-aware and how to build wellness and physical calm for oneself in such a simple way is beneficial,” she said.

After signing up, she went to the Smart Lab located on the 4th floor of the Physical Activity and Education Services Building.

The process is simple:

  • Participants sit down at a computer. 
  • A health coach puts a clip on their earlobe to read pulse and heart rhythms.
  • The coach gives participants real-time feedback about their stress levels.

Visual feedback is shown on the monitor in the form of graphs representing breathing patterns based on heart rate. 

It’s a relaxing experience, and you can sign up for a 30-minute sample session, once a week. 

“It is a great time to take a break in the middle of the day to just breathe,” health coach Amanda Fox said. “I think that’s what people like is they can just get away from the office and enjoy that time away.”

Fox says it also helps people build awareness. 

“They start to notice that stress response a little more outside of the lab,” Fox said. “That’s when you can intervene on that and say 'let me slow my breathing down. What am I thinking about? Can I adjust my mindset to help with that?'”

The Smart Lab can accommodate up to seven people at a time. To sign up, visit

“Having the ability to enjoy your day personally has such a positive impact on what you’re doing and how you’re sharing your experience with other people,” Hall said.