Skip to main content

Stress Relief- Breathing Techniques for Everyday Use

Use Breathing to Relieve Stress

Ever notice how athletes will take a breath or two before going for the big play?

Breathing is one of the easiest ways to relieve stress. You can read up on stress and the different forms of relief at this great article on I want to focus on a simple technique to reduce stress and light anxiety.

Firstly, breathing is a stress response as part of our natural "fight or flight" response. However, we are able to access this response and slow our own breathing to reduce the hormone secretion during a stress response. Controlling breathing will also regulate heart rate and blood pressure. Combining breathing techniques with exercise is an added effective technique at changing our overall pathology of stress relief which usually manifests itself as neck and shoulder pain, which can be relieved through good old fashioned "talking about your stress". Research has shown that punching a bag, for example, my actually relieve your stress significantly more than talking about your problems.

Breathing the right way
The simplest form of relaxation is good ole' diaphragmatic breathing.

You inhale through the nose, feel your stomach lift (that's the diaphragm pushing down into the abdomen), count to 8, and then exhale trough the mouth. That's it! That's also the best way to breathe while running for example.

Other factors are to make your area around you quiet and simple, no noise or distractions so you can listen to the breathing.

In a future post, we will discuss meditation as an additional stress reliever.

Most Popular Posts

Exercise- Some Motiviation Required

It requires some thought in to why we do and don't do things. Exercise was not really much expected of the average person when there was so much labor to do around the home and job. Our evolution from labor based to service based industries has created a need for us to generate time for activity. Hence- our need for motivation.
Exercise in ancient Greece, for example, was an ingrained part of the religion and culture. The Gymnasium was dedicated to physical perfection, but also developed into a meeting place of philosophers and educators.
In some ways, exercise is a motivator today for people to look attractive, impress their friends, potential friends, or just to make people notice them. Vanity can motivate.
Sometimes, it's just about pride. The thought of having to buy new clothes to make room for more of you is just not pleasant (especially when you see the selection available). In fact, some studies have demonstrated that monetary incentives have helped people lose weigh…

Fiber for FItness (or just fitting into clothes)

The average American diet simply does not have enough fiber. White enriched flour has almost no fiber content. The most popular veggies are tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, and cucumbers, which have almost no fiber content (or vitamin content for that matter). Fiber helps regulate the digestive system (especially soluble fiber) by moving lipids (i.e. fats) through the blood stream and helping regulate sugar absorption. Insoluble fiber helps move bulk through the intestines, easing constipation and maintaining healthy acid levels.
You should also try to manage the sugar and fiber intake, especially for weight loss. Less sugar equals fewer calories which always contributes to weight loss. Check out the chart below for examples
Other great ideas are some of the whole fruit smoothies such as Bolthouse Farm products which use whole fruits and not juices. Fiber in your diet is an easy way to lose weight without making huge changes, so get started!

Body weight, reexamined...

The constant battle with the scale can be unending and unnerving. Before you even consider using it as your guide to a healthy weight, you should really consider the alternatives:

Body fat percentage: this is the most accurate measure of health and fitness. It means a low weight or lean person can have too much body fat and still have the potential for many ailments associated with being "overweight" including Type II diabetes and osteoporosis, for example. A heavier person with normal body fat percentage would actually be better off. Technology allows us to measure body fat percentage through a bioelectric resistance pad, which are those silver pads you can find on some scales. Make sure you purchase that kind of scale because it really appraises you of true progress- more lean tissue and less fat. See how you fall out on the chart below:

Waist-to-Hip Ratio: this is another effective way to measure how much fat has accumulated around the abdomen. As a general rule, the hips …