How it works

For about 45 minutes, students sit at a computer with an emWave Pro sensor and receive guided coaching, via videos and games, to breathe so their heart rate is rhythmic. In one exercise, students might see a black-and-white picture of a garden. Eventually, the garden bursts with color and little animals appear. “The longer the student remains in relaxation, the more the picture develops,” says Granello.

Related: How to use tech to address students’ mental health

Granello’s staff helps students learn to breathe deeper or slower, and students can chart their success. Different colored zones flash on the computer, with green meaning most relaxed and red being highly stressed. It shows the time they are in each zone so they can compare their current session with previous sessions. Granello says that 86 percent of people claim it’s helpful. “It’s not rocket science, but like all behavioral solutions it’s all about practice. We have found significant results in three to four sessions with students.”

Granello is confident of the lab’s merit. “Certainly, universities like Harvard have had stress labs for a long time but I don’t know if they are doing it on such a large scale. And it’s not just for clinical research. It’s really a skilled lab for students for better coping.”

About the Author:

Angela Pascopella, a newspaper and magazine writer/editor for nearly 30 years, is a freelance writer in Connecticut.


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