The first step to manage unhealthy stress that you learn in Stress Management training is not Tylenol, Motrin..., but instead deep breathing. Caution, if you suffer from panic/anxiety and or agoraphobia, this technique is not recommended until after the symptoms are history. The reason this is so is because breathing techniques require internal focusing which is not recommended for anxiety sufferers. For them external relaxation techniques are recommended--see the resource box.

In response to stress, it is normal that our breathing is immediately affected. It becomes shallow and upper chest which is actually part of the defense mechanism. Even a sigh is usually a tense upper chest unhealthy breadth.

We generally make some basic mistakes in breathing:
• We get caught up with our appearance that we hold in our stomachs which limits breathing to the upper chest.
• When we take a deep breadth, we force our lungs to expand against our chest putting chest muscles in spasm. This can create chest and back pain.

Life is about stress and as we adapt to higher and higher levels of stress from one year to the next, our normal breathing becomes tense. Even as we sleep, we may breathe in a tense manner. The tense breathing also affects our posture, starves the body of much needed oxygen, and blocks our Chakras--the natural flow of energy through our bodies.

No matter what the physical health problem--neckaches, headaches, muscle pain... (all direct effects of stress), or disease such as cancer, heart disease... it's important to address breathing (except for anxiety sufferers as previously noted). The problem is that there are no profits to be made from deep breathing. No drugs are required so you will not hear an announcement on the radio, "Did you remember to do your deep breathing stress reduction exercise today?"

Look for times during the day when you are feeling stressed, under pressure, in a rush, defensive, tense... Whenever you find yourself in one of those situation, instead of tensing you remember to do your deep breathing stress relief technique.

And all you have to do to engage your first defense against stress is to consciously become aware of your breathing. That is to simply shift from your upper chest tense breathing consciously to an abdominal breath.

How to take an abdominal breadth—the first defense against stress:
• Let your stomach and abdomen relax.
• Breathe down through your chest into your stomach.
• Let your stomach expand outward.
• Let your chest expand slightly at the end of the breadth.

As you exhale:
• Pull your stomach inward.
• Expel all the air up through your chest.

A general rule of thumb is that if you can hear your breadth, you are breathing too fast. Ten to twelve breaths per minute is fine. If you feel your shoulders lifting as you inhale, it is a tense breadth. Just let your shoulders be loose and limp as you inhale and exhale. Let your arms hang from your shoulder like rope.

If you have the time, take a class in Yoga breathing to get in some serious breathing. Yoga will also provide many other healthful benefits.

When to do your deep breathing: Make a list of times during the day when it would be appropriate to take advantage of the deep breathing stress management technique such as:
• Before entering a building or an office.
• As you’re waiting for your computer to load a program or shut down.
• Before answering the phone or making a phone call.
• As you listen to someone conversing with you.
• Whenever you're at a red light.
• Before eating or drinking.
• Whenever you notice yourself feeling stressed.
• Whenever you can remember to take a deep breadth.
Again, no one makes money on deep breathing so you will not hear a radio or TV message telling you to remember your deep breathing stress management exercise.

Several deep breathing exercises are available one one inexpensive cd to manage stress, live longer, and even eliminate hyperventilation. Practicing the exercises produces real results.

Author's Bio: 

Richard Kuhns B.S.Ch.E., NGH certified is a prominent figure in the field of stress management. His best selling cds for managing stress are at and His goals are to increase awareness in the utilization of basic stress management training to promote health. To find out more please visit