The Problem with Stress (is Breathing)

I know that this is a problem that everyone has, even the ones that say “No, I do not have any problems with stress.” Stress is more than just a feeling of being “Stressed out.” That is the first thing people will think when they are asked about being stressed. When you actually feel the sensation of being stressed out it is just the outward appearance of a symptom of your body. Symptoms do not show up until after there is a problem and the problem does not go away just because the symptoms do not appear. The body is a complex structure and you should not expect just because everything seems to be alright that it actually is alright. I do not really know anyone that can say, I do not have any problems at all. Even myself, I would like to think that I am stress free, I know that I am not. I just try to use the preventative approach that I need to keep my stress levels as low as I can make them. So, with this blog I am going to discuss some of the things to be aware of as signs and things that you can do to help with your own stress levels.

One breathing sign of stress is yawning. I know I probably just made you yawn by having you read this, but it is ok. You just got a bunch of fresh air into the body. Yawning is a sign that the brain is not getting enough oxygen. The first thing that happens is that you take a deep breath in and then you exhale. This is what you should be doing anyways, just without the mouth opening quite so much.

Another breathing sign of stress is sighing. I know this was one thing that I used to do a lot. I would not even notice that I was doing it. My roommates at the time would constantly ask me if there was something wrong and I never understood why they kept asking me until I asked them why they thought something was wrong. They both told me that they heard me sighing a lot. Well I had no idea that I was even doing this, worse is that I had no idea that this was even a sign of a problem. At the time I had a very demanding job and I would feel stressed all of the time, but I did not know what to do about it except to just deal with it, meaning that I did nothing. This over time caused aspects of depression and me secluding myself away from people. I should have went and done something about it, even if it was just talking to someone about it, but I got lucky and my circumstances changed. I know now different tools that would have helped me then and made the process go by a lot smoother.

The last aspect of breathing signs is medical problems. There are many medical problems that will decrease your breath. One of these is sleep apnea. Most people may not even know that they have this problem. There is a good chance that if you snore heavily all the time then you may have this. Sleep apnea reduces the amount of air you breath in when you are sleeping. Other medical problems would be allergies, sinus issues, bronchitis, asthma, tuberculosis, and other lung complications. These should be taken care of by a professional.

The first step is breathing. Pretty much everyone has heard of taking a step back and taking a breath. Unfortunately, most people when they are told this take it as an offense that they are being told that they are wrong or that something is wrong with them, instead of taking it as an aspect of preventative treatment. What is really wrong with being told this? Why should you feel as if you are being attacked when someone tells you this? Unfortunately, your mind is what did this to you, not the other person. If you would actually take the moment and really step back and take that breath you would actually be able to calm down and let your brain work better. How would that happen? This is easily done when you take deep breaths of air you are actually bringing more blood to the brain. Blood brings nutrient and oxygen to the body and the first stop is the brain. Do you think the brain would be able to work better if there was more nutrients and oxygen? You bet it will. So, next time instead of waiting for someone to tell you to take a step back and breath, you should already be doing it.
The next step is to know how to breathe. You are now reading this thinking I do this every day and I do not even need to think about it, so why do I need to be taught this? That is simple. We have lost the ability to breathe properly. This is easily shown by watching a baby breathe. When a baby is lying down on his back it is easiest to notice. The first part of the inhale the baby’s belly will rise up and then fill the chest. The exhale will go in the opposite direction. Somewhere when we were growing up we lost the ability to do this without thinking. You are getting a smaller amount of air into your body the way you are breathing from just the chest. The chest only expands a small amount, because you are only using the width of your lungs to bring in air. If you were breathing with your diaphragm then you would be using the length of your lungs, which is longer than the width, you are able to bring more air into your body with each breath. Other aspects that happen when you breathe this way are the massaging of the internal and the engaging the transverse abdominal muscle. The massaging of the internal organs comes from the movement of the diaphragm and abdominal muscles. When they engage they will move the organs and in the process of them moving they are being massaged. The transverse abdominal muscle is the muscle that wraps from side of the spine around the abdominal cavity to the other side of the spine. This muscle is only engaged fully after you are breathing in a deep breath of air and the belly expands out and you contract it in to help to exhale the as out of your lungs. It is one of the core muscle that is infrequently used.

There are a couple thoughts on where you breathe in and out. Meaning, should I breathe in and out through my mouth or nose. I practice breathing in through the nose and out thought the mouth. Medically this is how you are supposed to breathe as well. The medical reasoning is that when you are breathing in through the nose you are able to filter and moisten the air as it comes into the body. The nose has a mucus lining that will catch foreign object to keep them out of the lungs. And it normally will stay moist. With exhaling the mouth is the easiest path out. So, why would you want to keep the carbon dioxide in your body any longer than you need? There are many reasons for other ways of breathing and I am not going to argue for or against them. I am only telling you the reasoning for my choice. You can make your own choices.

The last part that I want to discuss is exercise. There are many types of exercises and all of them you will need to learn how to do some form of breath control to get the best results. If you pay attention to your body it will normally help you figure these out. The main point I am trying to make here is that you should do some form of exercise to help with stress. It can be as easy as taking a walk every day to going a very difficult work out class. You just need to do it. This is off the subject with this topic slightly, but I need to say it. Watching TV is not a stress reliever. Your mind will process the visual aspects as if they are happening to you. Whether you want to believe this, it is true. I am not saying that you should not watch it, because I know that is one of things that I will do later in the day myself. But, I am only doing it for entertainment. It will be done after I have already some form of distressing myself.

I hope that I have given you at least some things to do and/or to think about to help you with the stress you have acquired. Please send me some feedback on what you think about my blog either good or bad. I only wish to improve myself and hopefully that means I can help to improve you as well.