Along with the holiday season, come higher stress levels.  Most people hold their stress in their neck and shoulders and before you know it your shoulders are at your ears.  Some of our neck muscles help the diaphragm move up and down when breathing but most adults breathe quick, shallow breaths mostly from our chest, meaning our diaphragms aren’t moving a lot.

I’m going to give you some quick tips to help calm your breathing and help you relax.

So: find a place on the floor or lie down in bed and make yourself comfortable.

Deep Diaphragmatic (Abdominal) Breathing:

  • Place one hand on your upper chest and one hand on your stomach
  • Breathe normally for a minute or two and notice your natural pattern. Is there much movement in the hand over your stomach?
  • Your chest will expand a bit but most movement should come from your stomach.
  • Inhale through your nose slowly and exhale through your mouth slowly
  • Imagine a balloon filling and emptying with air
  • Take a deep breath, filling not only your lungs, but right down to your stomach.  Your stomach should rise.
  • Pause for 1-2 seconds
  • Exhale, emptying your stomach and lungs.  Your stomach should drop.
  • Do this for a few minutes and you should feel yourself start to relax. Over time this way of breathing will become easier and more natural.

When life gets a bit crazy, stop and check your breathing.