This Simple Stress Reducing Trick  Can Change Your Life

This Simple Stress Reducing Trick Can Change Your Life

By Dr. Kevin Passero

Breathing is something that we all take for granted, but it actually has the power to reduce stress when done properly.

When you breathe air in, blood cells receive oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a waste product that is carried back through your body and exhaled.

Improper breathing can upset the oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange and contribute to anxiety, panic attacks, fatigue and other physical and emotional disturbances. It may sound silly, but by simply breathing the right way may be THE stress reduction tip that changes your life!

Breathe In Breathing Patterns and What Can Induce Them

If you experience an acute stressful situation, it is common to begin taking rapid, shallow breaths that come directly from the chest – a type of breathing that is called thoracic or chest breathing.

This is actually a hardwired response that allows the body to respond to an acute threat, as chest breathing causes an increase in heart rate, muscle tension and triggers stress hormones to be released.

There is nothing wrong with this type of breathing for short periods of time. However, problems can arise when chest breathing is done for too long.

After the acute threat or stressor is gone, the body should resume the normal manor of breathing known as abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing. During this type of breathing, the body takes deep, even breaths which decreases heart rate, relaxes the muscles and reduces stress hormones circulating throughout the body.

Abdominal breathing should be the default setting for the body, but unfortunately this is not the case for far too many people these days. Simply put, most of us are spending extended periods of time chest breathing, contributing to the stress cycle without even realizing it.

The easiest way to determine your breathing pattern is to put one hand on your upper abdomen near the waist and the other on the middle of your chest. If you are breathing properly, the hand on your abdomen should be expanding and contracting with each breath. If you notice that you are constantly breathing primarily through your chest, then it can be helpful to engage in a daily abdominal breathing practice. You only have to do a few minutes a day to notice a difference.

Breathe Out Even with Breathing, Practice Makes a Big Difference

A great thing about this simple technique is that you can practice this ANYWHERE and ANYTIME!

  1. Place both hands on your abdomen. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose and breath into your belly. Your hands should rise as your belly rises and there should be very little movement in your chest.
  2. Exhale slowly through your mouth and let your belly contract as you do so.
  3. Research has shown that inhaling for 7 seconds and exhaling for 7 seconds during this exercise can activate the part of your nervous system that combats stress. So as you breathe in, slowly count to 7 and do the same as you exhale.  That will put your breathing in perfect timing with your nervous system.
  4. Repeat this breathing exercise for several minutes or until you feel relaxed.

Like any learned skill, you will get better at it with practice. And in this case, some consistent practice breathing properly will quickly produce remarkable results in your ability to decrease feelings of anxiety during stressful situations.