Feeling Stressed? It’s normal to feel overwhelmed sometimes, but too much stress can throw a wrench in your overall health and wellness. Being in fight or flight mode more than 20% of the time can lead to mental health problems, increased risk of cardiovascular disease and even poor gut health…. which in turn, heightens levels of stress! Staying hydrated, eating healthy meals and routine chiropractic care all help in the long term, but what can you do right now to manage your stress and anxiety?
Most people are breathing the wrong way and don’t even realize it. As a chiropractor, while observing the general population, what we notice is that most people are using their chest and shoulders to breath instead of the diaphragm. Go ahead…TRY IT! Take a BIG deep breath in and blow it all the way out; did your shoulders move? If you’ve ever watched a baby breathe you will notice they don’t move their shoulders at all, but instead breath with their BELLIES. The proper way to breathe without stressing your neck and shoulder muscles is called diaphragmatic breathing.
How-To: Diaphragmatic Breathe
This relaxation style deep breathing technique helps slow the heartbeat, stabilize blood pressure and get more oxygen circulating throughout the body. Here’s how you do it:
- Sit or lay comfortably making sure your spine is straight and most importantly that your head and neck are relaxed.
- Put one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach just above your belly button.
- Inhale slowly through your nose for a count of 4 seconds, so that your stomach pushes against your hand. Now the hard part-try to keep the hand on your chest as still as possible.
- Breathe out slowly through your mouth for 5 seconds by tightening your stomach muscles. Again, trying to keep the hand on your stomach still.
- Repeat for several minutes.
This type of breathing should be practiced daily starting with just 2 minute per day and working up to 30 minute sessions- eventually your brain convert your “normal” breathing pattern to diaphragmatic breathing resulting in less stress and a feeling of overall relaxation. This technique is great for both adults and kids that struggle with stress or anxiety. If you have any questions or concerns about this, feel free to talk to the doctors next time you’re in the office or schedule a free consultation today at 515-278-9678