Breathwork for Stress and Anxiety Reduction

Published: May 14, 2023 | Revised: Dec 10, 2023
Written by: Marce Ferreira

Breathwork for Stress and Anxiety Reduction

Stress and anxiety is basically a normal physiological, biological, and/or psychological reaction of the body/mind unit when it prepares itself to respond to danger, a challenging situation, or to a “barrier.”

Reacting with stress or anxiety is also known as the “fight or flight” response. Many things go on in a body that’s “under stress,” such as the two hormones adrenaline and cortisol that are produced, the Autonomic Nervous System and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis that respond, musculature that contracts and tenses up, and so on. Nothing wrong there, because that all serves an appropriate reaction to a stressful situation.

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Nevertheless, when we find ourselves in a chronic stress or anxiety situation it can lead to many health problems, something that’s become increasingly common in contemporary society. For instance, an overloaded agenda, money issues, traffic jams, job worries, unprocessed emotional trauma, or relationship problems tend to keep us in a constant state of anxiety.

Health problems typically associated with continuing stress and anxiety are, for instance, high blood pressure, poor breathing — typically shallow or chest breathing — chronic headaches, heartburn, a weak immune system, and/or depression.

By using Breathwork we can help reduce or even eliminate immediate stress, worries, and anxiety. In fact, by deliberately invoking a relaxation response through conscious, slow, and deep breathing we can “trick” our nervous system, and subsequently calm down our body and mind when we find ourselves in a stressful or challenging situation.

If stress and anxiety are rather chronic, we can alternatively engage in the types of Breathwork that aim at resolving underlying issues on a more structural emotional-mental level. Think, for instance, of Transpersonal, Psychedelic, and Transformational Breathwork modalities.


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