When You Are Stressed, Look at Your Breathing

dr. peter litchfield


It’s important to pay attention. 

For example, if you feel short of breath, it could be a number of different things, could it be a major issue or not? Then you’d have to ask yourself when and where do I feel the shortness of breath?                                                                                                                                                                                                An example, if someone says they always get a headache whenever they're stressed, this could be that whenever you feel stressed, you take control of the breath… and you’re doing this unconsciously.

You then lose carbon dioxide; you get vasoconstriction in the brain. You have hypoxia and you have hypoglycemia in the brain. You have a reduction of blood sugar availability to the neurons, reduction of oxygen, severe reduction… just because of the chemistry of the breath!

Then what happens is you develop a headache because of the hypoxia or hypoglycemia and it's not the stress, it's your learned breathing response to the stress. So now the goal is that if you do stress management… reduce the stress… reduce the headache.

Your job may be very stressful… and you don't want a headache when you're stressed. 

The solution is to look at the breathing habit if there is one, to see if you can identify one. 

If there is one, disengage it and now you can be highly stressed and have good respiration, good circulation in the brain, good blood sugar, good oxygenation to the brain and so on, and you can function more effectively, and the headaches are gone!

This is self-regulation.

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