Monday, August 5, 2013

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 Bodybuilding.com. 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.