Deep Breathing and Anxiety Can’t Co-exist
If you were able to give your body and mind a deep release — letting stress and anxiety go quickly and easily — would you?
Breathing, deep breathing, is foundational to your health. It is the way to relieve upset, pain, drowsiness and tension.
You can deep breathe anywhere and at any time.
You can’t be stressed when you are breathing deeply.
Thinking about speaking from this state of relaxation, would you stutter?
Would the muscles that produce speech be free to move smoothly and easily?
Here’s what happens inside your body when you breathe.
Deep breathing gives a gentle expansion and contraction though out your whole body, down to every cell. Every part of your body gets a ‘massage’, allowing that natural stimulating movement that is vital for relaxation and growth. When this gentle movement happens regularly and consciously, your body is relaxing, reconnecting and synchronizing.
Doesn’t that sound helpful for fluent speech? Wouldn’t fluent speech be easier from this place?
When your mind, nervous system and muscles are relaxed, speaking is unencumbered and flows easily from thought to speech.
Let’s look at some practical ways for deep breathing ot support fluency.
Deep Breathing Profoundly…
influences how you feel and how you speak. You may not have thought about the many benefits that deep breathing can provide to you.
Consider these benefits:
Deep Breathing To Release Happiness
Everyone feels better when they are happy. Isn’t everything you do, or have to do, more fun when your mood is elevated?
Deep breathing floods your body and mind with endorphins — the hormones for comfort and happiness. It is contrary, in fact impossible, to feel tension and anxiety when your body and mind are filled with endorphins.
Imagine the calm feeling that breathing brings … how it prepares your physical body and mind for smooth speech.
Here your muscles are relaxed, your mind is clear and the path from thought to speech production is open to connecting …connecting for fluency.
Deep Breathing For Muscle Coordination and Agility
For speech production, it is critical that the muscles for speaking are able to move in a quick, precise and coordinated pattern for each of the sounds in the words you are saying.
Deep breathing sends a calming signal to muscles, preparing them for speech.
When speech muscles are tense and restricted, they interrupt the intricate sound pattern of words, disrupting the flow of smooth speech.
When speech muscles are relaxed, they freely connect to the easy movements for speaking.
Deep Breathing To Relax Your Nervous System
When your nervous system is taxed, you’ll feel extreme tension and anxiety – or in the case of long term stress and overwhelm, your body may temporarily shut down, ‘hitting the wall’.
Overwhelm and tension block the sequence of speech sounds, resulting in repetitions, hesitations and blocks.
It is difficult to consciously and willfully relax your nervous system. A practice of deep breathing is innate to the body and mind. Your body readily accepts breathing as a natural way to unwind. With a calm nervous system, your nerves and muscles are ready to support easy speaking.
Deep Breathing Supporting Posture and Fluency
Deep breathing sets the stage for good posture. When your lungs have the space to open and expand, the rest of your upper body adjusts. Your shoulder are back, chest opened, head tall and back straight.
While the ability to take in deep breaths has a dramatic effect on relaxed speech, your posture sets you up for confidence and self esteem.
Confidence and self esteem are underpinnings for fluency – they create the foundation. Many Women Who Stutter agree.
Deep Breathing For Heightened Mood
When we are in a good mood, with happy hormones filling your body and mind, its not surprising that stuttering is diminished, even if you do stutter – it seems less or it’s easier.
Your perspective changes to open and present – you are aware of what is happening both outside and inside of your body.
The focus of being present and in the moment, frees up your mind to connect with your thoughts, speech and interactions. In this place, you are unlikely to pre-think about what you need to do to avoid stuttering.
A Simple Deep Breathing Exercise – A Foundation For Fluency
What Is Your Experience?
- Find a place without distractions and relax. This may even be right in your mind – the happy place you like to go.
- Scan your body from top to bottom, finding places of tension and release them.
- Inhale deeply, filling your lungs with air. Let your abdomen expand, not just your chest. Count slowly to 5 as you inhale.
- Exhale deeply, letting go of all the air in your lungs. Count to 8 slowly releasing tension from anywhere in your body and mind.
- Continue to inhale (counting to 5) and exhale (counting to 8) slowly for several minutes. Concentrating on your breathing and counting will give your mind a break from distractions.
- Repeat this routine at least once, daily. You will really notice a difference.
MLSP, R.SLP, S-LP(C), Wealthy Woman Warrior™ Communication Ambassador
A Registered Speech Language Pathologist for 30 years who understands that many of the old techniques used in this field simply aren’t working for most people who stutter. With her revolutionary new programs to help PWS speak easily, she’s making a tremendous impact in the world by finally addressing what all stutters do have control over...and it’s working!