Everyone experiences stress at one time or another and knows how awful it can feel. Besides the mental anguish, there’s also a physiological response that can impact breathing and exacerbate one’s anxiety.
When You Experience Stress
When we experience stress, our body releases hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones prepare us for the flight or fight response and trigger a series of physical changes. As the heart and respiration rate increase, breathing gets more shallow and rapid. Some people even experience hyperventilation, lightheadedness, dizziness, and worsening anxiety that can lead to panic attacks.
As a pulmonology practice, the professional team at North Jersey Pulmonary Associates understands the complex relationship between stress, breathing, and one’s physical and emotional states.
We offer the following advice on breathing techniques that can help manage stressful episodes and support better wellness:
Diaphragmatic Breathing -One of the most effective techniques, diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing, involves taking slow, deep breaths to engage the diaphragm muscle, located just below the lungs. Engaging the diaphragm muscle increases the amount of oxygen we take in with each breath and improves our overall breathing patterns.
The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique- This effective breathing technique helps reduce stress, regulate breathing, and induce a sense of calm and relaxation. It involves inhaling for four counts, holding the breath for seven counts, and exhaling for counts.
Mindful Breathing- This technique, incorporated into meditation practices, involves paying attention to your breath and observing it without judgment or trying to control it. It activates the parasympathetic system, which helps us relax and reduce the physical symptoms of stress. Focusing on the breath can slow down the heart rates and induce a sense of calm.
Nostril Breathing, Box Breathing, and Progressive Muscle Relaxation – These techniques also represent helpful methods for reducing stress, involving a combination of deep breathing, visualization, and muscle relaxation exercises.
Taking a well-informed approach to better health
While it’s clear that stress can profoundly affect your emotional and physical well-being, practicing better breathing techniques can help you manage episodes in a healthier manner. At the office of North Jersey Pulmonary Associates, our mission is to give our patients the care, information, and resources they need to breathe easier and experience optimal health.
By North Jersey Pulmonary Associates
May 14, 2023