Periods of chronic stress can affect normal breathing patterns and lead to altered posture. Shallow breathing from the upper chest can cause the head and neck to be drawn forward, together with hunched shoulders, and so muscles can become fatigued, tense, and a source of pain.
Breathing exercises can not only help to ease muscular aches and pains and encourage better posture, but can also aid oxygen/carbon dioxide balance in your body, support digestion, circulation and your general state of well-being, thus reducing anxiety. Try the following simple, relaxing exercise which focuses on breathing from your diaphragm:
Lie or sit comfortably and relaxed with your eyes closed and shoulders down.
Place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest.
Breathe normally and relax, focusing on the feeling of your abdomen expanding into your palm.
Your lower hand should move before your hand on your chest.
Try daily for 5 minutes until you can do it routinely in any stressful situation.