Increased sympathetic drive can create stress and strain in our bodies and minds. It can be an underlying cause of increased neck and back muscle tension, increased symptoms of bowel or bladder urgency, increased heart and respiratory rates, and increased pain and inflammation including pelvic pain.
One of the quickest and easiest (and FREE) ways to dial down our sympathetic (or fight or flight) tone is to become intentional about our breathing.
Breathing techniques to calm the nervous system often get termed “diaphragmatic breathing.” But honestly, all breathing is diaphragmatic breathing.
The diaphragm is a large central skeletal muscle that is primarily under involuntary control by the phrenic nerve. The autonomic (automatic) nervous system is controlling it’s behavior most of the time. As skeletal muscle though, we are able to exert voluntary control over it.
By changing your breathing rate and depth, you can reversely affect your autonomic nervous system!
There are lots of different methods for doing this. But just simply bringing your attention to your breath can be helpful along with thinking about taking a few deeper breaths.
Try it now and see how you feel!
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