Manage Stress with Diaphragmatic Breathing

Shared by Dr. Anthony Vasile

Manage Stress with Diaphragmatic Breathing

Everyday we are confronted with the flight or fight response. Our body’s response to the environment where we either activate our sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system. When we are in a constant state of flight our sympathetic system is running in high gear. This leads to shallow breathing, anxiety, and increased cortisol levels in the bloodstream.

This chronic stress leads to chemical changes within us that can cause us to move away from a state of health and homeostasis. Stress can affect our immune system function, energy levels, attention and overall wellbeing. If I feel stressed out one quick method to help alleviate that stress is deep breathing. Especially diaphragmatic breathing. When we are stressed, we use our upper chest to breath and we don’t use the diaphragm as much which helps to calm us down and activate the parasympathetic response.

I have attached a research article that looked at the powerful impact diaphragmatic breathing has on stress in healthy adults. A couple key quotes from the article sum it up well.

“The present study illustrates the potential for diaphragmatic breathing practice to improve cognitive performance and reduce negative subjective and physiological consequences of stress in healthy adults.”

“Numerous studies in health psychology and clinical treatment have demonstrated that diaphragmatic breathing is an effective relaxation technique in complementary and alternative medicine, with beneficial effects on physical and mental health.”

Remember life is full of stress but it is up to us how we decide to handle it. Our actions lead us to the state of health we are in. If we watch what we eat, exercise on a daily basis and manage stress we can keep toward a state of good health and homeostasis. Taking deep breaths is free and a great tool to know how to use. Remember to keep the spine healthy too with regular chiropractic adjustments.


Ma X, Yue ZQ, Gong ZQ, et al. The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults. Front Psychol. 2017;8:874. Published 2017 Jun 6. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00874

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