365 Ways #326–Don’t throw a hissy fit

#326--Where do you hold your stress? If you're in tune with your body at all, most of you will probably say in your upper back or neck area. The reason is the upper trapezius and levator scapulae are neuroligically connected to the limbic system--your emotional center. So when anxious or worried, the excess emotional energy bleeds off into these muscles and makes them uncomfortably tight. It's basically the same thing that happens when a cobra feels threatened--it flares its hood. Only your reaction is, presumably, a lot less lethal.

Additionally, faulty breathing mechanics which necessitate overuse of the accessory respiratory muscles contribute to the tonicity of these muscles. Thus, an effective tool for combating these reactions is to breathe diaphragmatically. I teach this technique to my clients by having them lie down on their back with one hand on their chest and one hand on their belly. They take a big, diaphramatic breath in through the nose. The hand on the belly should rise for the first two-thirds of the breath while the hand on the chest should only move during the last third of the inhalation. Exhale through the mouth or nose and repeat the process, noting how the body relaxes with each breath. And you didn't even have to bite anyone.

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