Have you noticed how your breathing changes during times of stress or anxiety? As our body responds to stressful moments you may notice a more shallow and upper chest breathing pattern. Shallow breathing, breath holding and hyperventilating triggers the sympathetic nervous system, aka a “fight or flight” response.

Taking time to focus on and slow down our breathing pattern during stressful moments can move our body toward a more relaxed, parasympathetic state. Slow, diaphragmatic breaths send a message to our brain asking us to calm down and relax. In this state we will notice decreased muscular tension and eliminated stress.

When you get stressed or anxious click here to perform diaphragmatic breaths.

* You should not experience any pain or discomfort. Only inhale to the point where you feel slight tension/resistance.
* On your inhale, focus on gently filling your hands. This should not be a large breath. It is slow and controlled.
* On exhale, focus on getting all of the air out of your lungs. You can apply gently down and inward pressure on the ribs as you exhale.
* Slowly increase your inhale and exhale to 4 seconds each.