Stress is inevitable. Even with the best work schedule, angelic children and the perfect family dynamic, stress is a normal part of life.
When you are feeling under pressure, your body releases cortisol -- a hormone that helps you handle whatever "threat" you are stressed about. A little cortisol here and there is fine. When you are under the gun all the time, you get a constant stream of cortisol -- which slows down your metabolism, reduces your immune system function, heightens pain sensations and tightens your muscles.
Research tells us that focused diaphragmatic (abdominal) breathing drills naturally reduce the level of cortisol, relax muscles and help you handle headaches, neck, shoulder and low back pain. It only takes about a minute in the morning and night doing diaphragmatic breathing to see a big improvement in your cortisol and stress levels.
One of my favorite diaphragmatic breathing drills that I use with patients at my Bloomingdale IL chiropractic practice is Crocodile Breathing. I included a video link below that talks you through how to do this exercise at home.
Try adding Crocodile Breathing to your routine twice a day for 60 seconds over a week. Notice how your muscles feel and how calm your mind is afterwards. I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised!