relaxation response- Breathing- Celine Elise Alvarez- Inner Growth Therapy

The importance of noticing your breath

In Blog by Celine Redfield2 Comments

So you might wondering: Why is she she writing about the breath? Why it is important in our everyday lives? If we can be become more connected to our breath this can help us to calm our nervous system and learn to not feel so stressed.

Breathing Eliciting the Relaxation Response- Celine Elise Alvarez- Inner Growth TherapyThrough the work with my clients, learning about stress management and the science of healing, I realized how important it is to talk about how we breathe. The quality and quantity of breath is important. Breathing properly key because it is a tool for self soothing, that is free and alway easily accessible if we are willing to pay attention to it.

Here are some facts about the breath and how you can learn how to breath more deeply, slowly and regularly:

1)The average respiratory rate of an of adult is 12 breaths a minute, and the breath tends to be small and shallow.

The average person is only breathing into their chest or thoracically breathing. This is the way that over 50% of adults have learned to breathe. The problem with breathing this way is that you are not  into their chest and are not filling their lungs to capacity.  When a person breathes thoracically they only get 15% of oxygen that you would compared to when you breath with your diaphragm to use your lungs to full capacity. When a person breaths this way they are actually making themselves more tense because they are using muscles their neck, and chest to grasp for oxygen. This results in shoulder and neck tension.

2) Most people’s tendency is to breath to quickly or to hold their breath when they become challenged, angry or scared.

When you breathe to quickly in and out this produces hyperventilation. Which does not allow enough oxygen to the brain and can put your body into the stress response. Any time a person holds their breath for a period of time this puts them into fight, flight and freeze response which resides in the brain in the limbic system which helps to prepare that their body for attack. If this happens 20 times a day this is hard on your body and this is how stress related illnesses and weakened immune systems occur. So how can you change this habit? Learn how to diagphramatically breathe.

Check out my video that teaches you how to do this:

3) Learning to breath diaphragmatically reduces tension, anxiety and stress symptoms.

When I teach clients how to diaphragmatically breathe, frequently they get dizzy because they are not used to breathing so deeply. And after several minutes they report feeling relaxed and in a better frame of mind. In a study that was done in 2011 it was found that it creates insulin, reduces glycemic index, and reduces reactive oxygen species production. Basically breathing creates the building blocks of life that we need to survive.

We can survive with out breathing only for four minutes with out permanently damaging our brain. When we take shallow breaths we are signaling to our body that we are playing dead. This is not good for our stress response or for anxiety reduction.

When the stress response goes into action we are more likely to be more anxious, angry and say things the we do not mean. The stress hormones which will prepare us to fight, flight or freeze help us to be alert but are meant to be used only for short amounts of time. So since we are not like our mammal counterparts that are able to function normally after the startle response we have to take extra steps to illicit the relaxation response.

Some recommendations for creating the the relaxation response in your body:

  • Breathe all the way into your diaphragm. While doing this,tell yourself: I am safe and protected from all inner and outer harm.
  • Drink non caffeinated tea and listen to soothing music
  • Externalize your experience through the creation of art, music or writing. While creating take deep mindful breaths
  • Snuggle with a friend or a partner and take deep breaths
  • Meditate
  • Do breathing exercises

Are you interested in learning more? Click on the links for more information about the relaxation response.

Have questions, comments? Interested in setting up and appointment or a free 15 minute consultation? Please feel free to comment below or email with questions at

Have a blessed week.





Relaxation Image by Georgie Sharp