Ask the Professional – Psychotherapist: Diaphragmatic Breathing and High Blood Pressure

Posted by | April 19, 2010 | Blog | No Comments

Managing healthy levels of blood pressure is extremely important. Maintaining positive attitude and optimistic approach is crucial; however, it is often easier said than done.How can we manage stress and make our mind and body happy?
I would strongly recommend practicing diaphragmatic breathing, which can drastically improve your body awareness, decrease muscle tension and anxiety, activate the parasympathetic nervous system, and significantly reduce blood pressure.You will notice the amazing effects of deep diaphragmatic breathing in the first days of using this simple technique; the full impact will take place gradually across months. Movement of diaphragm takes practice, but it accomplishes many tasks. Do diaphragmatic breathing exercises several times throughout the day.
Another secret to a healthier life is practicing non-judgmental approach for handling the stress in more effective ways.Our habit of categorizing and judging our experiences locks us into mechanical reactions that we are not even aware of. These judgments dominate our minds and do not let us see through our own prejudices and fears – and often result in higher blood pressure and higher heart rate.That is why it is important to recognize the judging quality of our mind. When you find your mind judging, you don’t have to pressure yourself to stop doing that; just recognize the fact, observe it, and proceed with concentrating on your diaphragmatic breathing.

Resources to use:
M. Davis, E. Eshelman, & M. McKay (2008) The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook. Oakland, CA.
Dr. Reitav introduces breathing techniques at:

Alla Arshakyan, M Ed, MA Counselling Psychology

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