We all know what it feels like when the Sympathetic Nervous System (fight or flight) is aroused – increase in blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, adrenaline, muscle tension, and perspiration. We sometimes “try” to calm down, but find ourselves in much the same mental position.
Diaphragmatic breathing is a sure-fire method to quickly bring some calm to the situation. Basically, this type of breathing can force a Parasympathetic Nervous System (relaxation) arousal – a decrease in blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, adrenaline, muscle tension, and perspiration. This probably sounds too simple and good to be true, right?
The Diaphragmatic Breathing Technique
- Lie flat on your back with your hands resting on your abdomen (near your naval).
- As you inhale, force your abdomen to push upward.
- As you exhale, move your abdomen back downward.
- When you begin to get a rhythm with this, put a little resistance (with your hands) against your abdomen as your push it up and then back down during the breaths. Do this for at least 1 minute.
Go ahead, try it right now and you will force a Parasympathetic arousal, guaranteed! Use this method regularly in times of great anxiety or when having difficultly falling asleep. You will learn to enjoy this as much as I do.