While this particular problem can affect men, tension in the jaw is much more common in women. Women carry stress differently than men and it usually affects us in our shoulders, neck and/or jaw regions. If you are experiencing tightness or soreness in your jaw, it is more than likely that it is affecting your speech as well. Unfortunately, the problem will not go away on its own.

The first thing you need to do is to learn how to get rid of the stress in these regions. Exercises designed to relax your body are very beneficial and should be practiced whenever you feel the need but the most important thing you should do is to learn to breathe with the support of your diaphragm.

Because shallow or lazy breathing does not allow for the elimination of the toxins in your body, your stress is actually being amplified or exaggerated every time you take a shallow breath. Deep supported breathing, on the other hand, draws your air all the way down to your mid-torso region and, in doing so, allows for the elimination of those toxins thereby relaxing your body. It is truly amazing to experience this process.

Both yoga and meditation are based on the principle of breathing with support. My approach, however, is to teach you to breathe diaphragmatically 24 hours a day. It will change your life in ways you cannot imagine and it is absolutely the best means of reducing and, in many cases, eliminating needless stress and tension that plagues thousands of women in the workforce who are also raising children in the home.

To begin the process of breathing with support, place your hands under your rib cage and cough. Did you feel that muscle ‘kick out?’ That is your diaphragm, a muscular partition, separating your chest from your abdomen. With your hands still under your rib cage, breathe in through your mouth and take your air all the way down to your mid-torso region. If you are doing this correctly, you will feel your diaphragm push against your hands. In fact, your entire rib cage will expand in the process, both front and back.

If you feel like you are sucking in your mid-region, then you are not doing this correctly. If your shoulders are rising, that is another indication that you did not do this right. Try it again. Take the air all the way down. You should feel this area expanding out against your hands.

While not an advocate of mouth breathing, for the purposes of learning how to breathe correctly, I teach my clients how to breathe through an open mouth because it is easier to learn the process in this manner. In addition, as a voice specialist, I want my clients to use the mouth for respiration when they are practicing their breathing exercises. In speaking, we all breathe through the mouth. At all other times, however I want you breathing through your nose.

Make diaphragmatic breathing a habit and you will notice that your shoulders, your neck, and/or your jaw are no longer sore by the end of the day. It is simple; it is healthy; and it is truly the most effective means of eliminating the stress we all encounter day in and day out.

Author's Bio: 

The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. Visit Voice Dynamic and watch Nancy as she describes The Power of Your Speaking Voice.

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