Control Your Breathing

image of a peaceful woman.
Relaxed breathing, also called diaphragmatic breathing, can help you relieve stress.

Have you ever noticed how you breathe when you're stressed? Stress typically causes rapid, shallow breathing. This kind of breathing sustains other aspects of the stress response, such as rapid heart rate and perspiration. If you can get control of your breathing, the spiraling effects of acute stress will automatically become less intense. Relaxed breathing, also called diaphragmatic breathing, can help you relieve stress.

Practice this basic technique twice daily, and whenever you feel tense. Follow these steps:

  • Inhale. With your mouth closed and your shoulders relaxed, inhale as slowly and deeply as you can to the count of six. As you do that, push your stomach out. Allow the air to fill your diaphragm.
  • Hold. Keep the air in your lungs as you slowly count to four.
  • Exhale. Release the air through your mouth as you slowly count to six.
  • Repeat. Complete the inhale-hold-exhale cycle three to five times.

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  • "I have had back problems on and off for the past forty years, so I figured I’d just have to live with it like my M.D. told me. I went to see Dr. Bocchino with the hope that he could reduce some of the pain and stiffness that was messing with my golf swing. Well, I wasn’t disappointed. I felt better after the very first treatment. I continue to see Dr. Bocchino and only have minimal stiffness after playing a round of golf and my SCGA handicap index has dropped from 13 to 9!"
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