Stress-related tension is an inevitable part of everyday living. Apart from being an uncomfortable burden, stress-related tension can lead to a variety of problems such as headaches, back pain, and exhaustion, to name a few. Despite the fact that each of us may experience tension slightly differently, anyone can learn to release that tension. All it takes is knowing how to relax, practicing relaxation techniques, and choosing a technique that works best for you.
Deep, full, relaxed breathing is a powerful and profound way of releasing tension and controlling stress. To become aware of your pattern of breathing, try the following.
The following is a script you can read and/or record and then follow to help you learn to breathe deeply and fully in order to release tension and control your stress.
- Place one of your hands upon your stomach somewhere around your belly button area,
- Then place the other hand on your chest, right in the centre.
- And for the next few moments, as you sit still and breathe normally,
- Take note of the pattern of movement of your two hands.
- As you breathe in and breathe out, does one hand move more than the other?
- Does the lower hand move more than the upper hand?
- Does the upper hand move more than the lower hand?
- Do both hands move at about the same amount?
- If your upper hand moves more than your lower hand, you are breathing in a short and shallow fashion that will contribute to stress.
- If your lower hand moves more than your upper hand, you are breathing in a deep and full fashion and this will help manage your stress.
- As you take a few more moments to notice your breathing try to breathe in deeply and exhale fully so that you feel your lower hand moving inwards and outwards.
- Spend a few moments practicing this full deep relaxed breathing, using the movements of your hands as a sign that can tell you whether or not you are breathing in a relaxed fashion or a stressed fashion.
For more information the following resources may be helpful.
- Understanding and Finding Help for Anxiety. https://ontario.cmha.ca/documents/understanding-and-finding-help-for-anxiety/
- Youth Anxiety. https://youth.anxietycanada.com/
- Anxiety Disorders Association of Ontario. http://www.anxietydisordersontario.ca/
- Mood Disorders Association of Ontario. https://www.mooddisorders.ca/faq/anxiety-and-mood-disorders
- Anxiety Disorders. Canadian Mental Health Association. https://cmha.bc.ca/documents/anxiety-disorders