Stress management – Breathing exercises for relaxation

Shallow upper chest breathing is part of the typical stress response. It leads to tightness in the neck and shoulders, reduced oxygenation of the blood, mild dizziness and symptoms similar to anxiety. It can lead to headaches, fatigue and affect the immune system.

Ever heard someone say ‘I hold my stress in my shoulders,’ its actually because they overuse these muscles with poor breathing patterns which makes their shoulders  tight!

Typically when we are stressed we take small shallow breaths using the shoulder and neck muscles to breathe, rather than using the diaphragm.  You can test this by placing one hand on your chest and one on your belly and see which one is moving more. It healthy breathing patterns the belly moves a lot more than the chest.

A relaxed person takes long and slow breaths in and out through the nose and the belly moves in and out.

By practicing breathing techniques you can improve your blood pressure and heart rate, reduce muscle tension and stress and experience feelings of calmness and wellbeing.

Solution: when you are feeling stressed or have a quiet moment to yourself, place two hands over you belly and simply breath through your nose and into your ‘hands.’

You can sit and do this for 5-10 minutes or place your hands on your belly for a few seconds every now and then to remind yourself.

The process of changing dysfunctional breathing patterns does take time to resolve but the journey is worth it. Come and chat to us if you need any help or have any questions and read more here.