Stress, either to mind or body – a deadline at work, a very bad headache, presenting to a crowd, chronic pain – often causes very physical reactions: your muscles tense and can even cramp, your heart rate rises, you cannot easily concentrate, and often your breathing becomes faster and shallower.
Diaphragmatic breathing is a style of breathing that can release stress from your body, helping you to calm, relax, and ultimately feel better. It can be used to treat anxiety disorders and sleep problems, and in the Department of Pain Management at Atrius Health, we teach our patients how to use it to lessen physical pain effectively.
Dr. Linda Bolle, a clinical psychologist in the Department of Pain Management, has created 3 short videos to explain what diaphragmatic breathing is and the body mechanics of this type of breathing, and then goes on to demonstrate diaphragmatic breathing while lying down – a good way to learn to do it properly – and finally sitting up so it can be practiced in everyday situations.
Introduction to Diaphragmatic Breathing
Practicing Diaphragmatic Breathing while Lying Down
Diaphragmatic Breathing: Seated or Upright Position