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Stress Management BREATHING - Use Effective Breathing Now to Reduce Stress!

Marlene Shiple, Ph.D.

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Frequently, I've had people say to me, “Breathing - what's the big deal? If I'm alive, I'm breathing - right?" S/he were using this as a proof that there was NOTHING WRONG with his/her breathing. In other words, s/he were indicating her/his belief that the only thing that could go wrong with breathing is to stop it all together.

This could not be further from the truth. The truth is that effective breathing is essential to health and well-being.

There are no substitutes. There are no alternatives.

Oxygen is more crucial to our life than is food or fluids. On most days, we can safely go hours without fluids (Note: I don't advise doing this). If there is a good reason, we can go days without food (Note 2: I don't advise doing this, either).

We cannot go 5 minutes without breathing.

That is how vital oxygen - and breathing - is to our existence. You cannot do without it! However, sometimes, people try to do so!

It is quite common for people, under extreme stress, to hold their breaths. It is routine for people who are tired to breathe shallowly. Neither of these lead to ample oxygen to adequately serve the needs of the body.

When your body is deprived of adequate oxygen, it subtly tenses up. It does this specifically because it is getting dangerously low on such a crucial necessity!

Such tensing of your body increases stress on your system. This is exactly the OPPOSITE of what is needed for stress reduction.

So, the solution is simple: You can begin to purposely breathe d-e-e-p-l-y and s-l-o-o-o-w-l-y. Taking ten slow, deep breaths begins to reverse the stress that was imposed by shallow, rapid breathing. Taking fifteen slow, deep breaths begins to speed you on your way to successful stress reduction.

And the beauty of this is that you have EVERYTHING you need, with you this very minute. Right now - this very minute - try it out!

Go ahead - notice how you are feeling this very moment. Then, begin to take 15 slow, deep breaths. Just inhale deeply to the count of 4 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - and, then, change the cycle. Now exhale deeply to the count of 4 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - and, change the cycle back. Proceed in that way for 15 slow, deep breaths.

Now, notice how you feel as a result. What do you notice?

That's right: Your stress has begun to diminish; your relaxation has begun to increase. And best of all: You can do this to reduce your level of stress anytime . . . anyplace!

And I invite you to learn more about relaxation and the management of stress by visiting our website. Here, you will find other beneficial articles, research, case studies, and much, much more. To visit us Click here or by going to

Presented by Dr. Marlene Shiple, the Life Coach Pro, & the LifeCoachPro Network


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