Exercises for Coping with Uncertainty: Relaxation Breathing and Imagery

Uncertainty is unavoidable in our lives, but there are many ways to cope positively with uncertainty, and it is most important for individuals to find what works for them.

When stress takes a physical and emotional toll, we can take a minute to relax with a breathing exercise or imagery. These techniques can be used any place, any time and can actually physiologically alter our bodies. Keep in mind that these techniques may take practice before experiencing positive results.

Relaxation Breathing

  1. Sit in a comfortable position (if you are unable to sit or close your eyes, this can still be done). Place your hands on your lap and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Close your eyes, or if you are uncomfortable doing so, you can fix your eyes on a still object in front of you.
  3. Take a deep breath in (over 4 seconds), and feel the air fill your lower abdomen (try not to lift your shoulders).
  4. Hold the breath for 3-7 seconds, and let it go slowly (over 4-8 seconds).
  5. Repeat this pattern 3 to 5 times.
  6. As you exhale, imagine that you are blowing lightly on a candle, so that it does not blow out, but just flickers.
  7. Notice any parts of your body where there is tension- maybe your neck, feet, shoulders are tense. Mindfully relax those areas.
  8. Continue this breathing for up to a few minutes or until you have some sense of relaxation and an ability to focus on the present.


Use the relaxation breathing above and then:

  1. As you inhale, imagine a warm light- perhaps it is golden or orange, or any other color- filling your body from the tip of your head slowly down to the bottom of your toes. Imagine this warm light is filled with peace, comfort, stillness. Imagine that it is allowing you to push out tension and worry.
  2. Continue your breathing, while sitting in stillness with this warm light.
  3. Pay attention to how you feel physically and emotionally.
  4. When you are ready, you may open your eyes.

A Message from The Jewish Board

If you live in the New York metropolitan area need help coping with stress and support in times of crisis, we can help. Call us at 1.844.ONE.CALL to speak with an intake specialist.