Diaphragmatic Breathing Techniques to help reduce stress and anxiety. Shallow breathing is linked to tension, stress and a weakened immune system. Find a quiet space, balance and nurture your body and mind.
The diaphragm, is a dome-shaped muscle located at the base of the lungs. It plays an important role in breathing. When you inhale, your diaphragm contracts (tightens) and moves downward. When you exhale, the opposite happens. On the inhale the movement creates more space in your chest cavity and allows the lungs to expand. As you exhale your diaphragm relaxes and moves upward in the chest cavity.
All of us are born with the knowledge and ability to fully engage the diaphragm to take deep, full, refreshing breaths. As we get older, however, we get out of the habit and move towards a shallower breath. Everything from the stresses and tension of our daily lives to the practice of “sucking in” the stomach for a neater waistline and the tension of starin and stress in the shoulder and neck area encourages us to gradually shift to shallower, less satisfying, less full “chest breathing.”
Relearning and retraining the body and mind how to breathe from the diaphragm is highly beneficial. Diaphragmatic breathing which is also called “belly breathing” or “abdominal breathing” encourages full oxygen exchange. Not surprisingly, this type of breathing slows the heartbeat, stimulates our relaxation response and can lower or stabilise blood pressure.