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URMC / Employee Assistance Program / News & Events / UR Medicine EAP Blog / March 2017 / Using Your Breath to Manage Stress

Using Your Breath to Manage Stress

Controlled deep breathing is standard in stress management training, and knowing why it works can have you doing it more often. One reason deep, slow breaths work so well is brain physiology. When you deep breathe, you use a different part of your brain to control your chest muscles instead of the part of your brain experiencing the “fight or flight” reaction to stress: the amygdala. Your awareness of what’s going on with your body improves instantly. This calms you in addition to the stretching sensation in your muscles associated with the chest wall. The opposite state of stress is the relaxation response. This includes deep breathing, which is a direct intervention. This is what makes it more powerful than other relaxation methods that are often misperceived as effective, such as stress eating, smoking, plopping down in front of the TV, or drinking alcohol. Deep breathing is appropriate anytime, but especially when you notice that you are under stress. Monitor the frequency of your attempts at stress management breathing to increase the frequency of its use.

Press pause in the middle of a busy workday to better manage your day. Well-U joins with the Life-Work Connections/EAP to take you through a guided relaxation session for 30 minutes during your lunch hour on Tuesday, March 21 from 12:15-12:45 p.m. at Brighton Business Center. Come ready take deep breaths and relieve tension! Enroll online.


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