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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

  1. Lie flat on your back with your hands resting on your abdomen (near your naval).
  2. As you inhale, force your abdomen to push upward.
  3. As you exhale, move your abdomen back downward.
  4. 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.