Our society today is designed for speed, success, and the speed of success with countless TV commercials constantly urging us to do more and be more. Many products on the market now purport time saving benefits, like a tile and shower cleaner that works while we are finishing dinner for our family or finishing up that last sales call of the day. We live in a high-stress society and along with that stress come tension, anxiety, sore muscles, headaches, sleep disorders, depression, disease, and general malaise. For many busy families it is often impossible to eliminate stress altogether, so it may be a better idea to discover different ways to deal with the stress itself.

When a person feels stress, their body produces stress hormones like Cortisol that will increase heart rate and blood pressure, in addition to lowering immune responses. This Cortisol release stress reaction would be highly necessary if a person were lost in the woods and having to suddenly out run a bear, but in normal life this response simply wears the body down and has only negative affects. When your body becomes worn down your immune system is vulnerable leaving you exposed to illness and disease. The goal for many is to avoid the stress response and learn to find the relaxation response instead, even during overly stressful situations. The relaxation response will reduce stress hormones, slow your speeding heart rate, and help bring your body back into a state of homeostasis or balance. Instead of seeing doctors for prescription sleep remedies or anxiety medications, many individuals are seeking holistic relaxation therapies as a solution to their stress-problem.

This article will focus on conscious and improved deep breathing techniques designed to control the stress response and keep the body feeling peaceful and grounded. Practicing deep and controlled breathing for anxiety and stress may sound like a simple concept, but it does take practice, time, and effort to be effective. This is one of the best stress reduction methods because it is not only completely free, but it can be done at any time or any place throughout the day. Poor and shallow breathing habits lead to oxygen imbalance in the body. Learning correct techniques will help detoxify the body and restore a sense of peace and calm.

Most of us breathe by puffing out our chests, instead of the proper way of using the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a large muscle that sits directly below the stomach that is activated during proper deep breathing. Good breathing should start in the area of the stomach or diaphragm and then should travel up while air travels into your lungs. When practicing diaphragmatic breathing, it is always best to wear loose and comfortable clothing. Understandably, this is not always possible if you are practicing this technique wearing your business suit, while sitting at your desk at work. Here is a simple and common exercise for practicing healthy diaphragmatic breathing. Before you begin the exercise be sure to sit upright, using proper posture, in a comfortable chair.

Breathing From The Diaphragm:

1.Place your right hand on your chest and your left hand on your abdomen/diaphragm
2.Inhale a slow and deep breath through your nose, originating from your diaphragm
3.Notice your left hand rising slightly during your inhale
4.Make certain your right hand shows little movement
5.Breathing should remain long, slow, and steady
6.Complete your full inhale and then exhale at the same long and slow rate
7.Practice this technique four to five times and then repeat

It is best to practice this exercise for up to ten minutes per session, around four to five times per day. If you find yourself feeling stressed or anxious first make a conscious effort to slow down your breathing and help restore your sense of balance. Do not feel frustrated at the beginning if your deep breathing rhythm is off or you find your right hand moving more than it should. This method takes effort and practice, but soon enough it will help control that nasty Cortisol, regulate your heart rate, increase oxygen levels in the blood and leave you feeling more refreshed, relaxed, and renewed.

Author's Bio: 

Anna Wehr has learned a lot about breathing technigues practices and how relaxatin therapies can reduce stress.