Do you carry tension, feel stiff or sore?

If this soreness in your body has not been caused from an injury or physical activity related.

What is the reason behind this soreness and tension?

Just consider all the things that can weigh down our lives:

Grief, Sadness, Illness, Worry, Financial struggles, Relationships, traumatic events, each a weight that we carry on our shoulders.

There are many causes of stiffness and soreness in the body but the most basic one is caused by our constant shallow breathing.

·       Do you have neck stiffness or tense jaw?

·       Is your back, shoulder, hamstrings, lower back tight or stiff?

·       Do you have that constant urge to stretch your body to get rid of that stiffness?

Stretching your muscles may give you temporary relief. 

The stiffness may likely come back in few hours sometimes.

While there are many therapies and treatments which help you in dealing with stiffness but these sadly will often not provide a permanent solution to your soreness.


Because you are lilely not addressing the root cause of the problem, which is likely caused by your breathing.

 The average person at rest takes about 16 breaths per minute. This means we breathe about 960 breaths an hour, 23,040 breaths a day.


Sometimes life can feel suffocating, whether it is the demand for your efforts at work, relationships, from children or even from yourself. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the many things on your to do list.

We often become so focused on doing that we forget 

  • to rest, 
  • pause, 
  • recharge, 
  • take a break, 
  • and breathe.

With all the weight and burden that each of us already carry in life, why would we choose to intentionally carry more or not put some of our heavy load down?


What if I told you there is a very simple and effective way in which we can easily off load some of this extra weight or pressure?


Have you ever watched a child breathe while they sleep?

When a child sleeps, they naturally practice deep breathing. Visually, you’ll see the belly expand and chest rise as they inhale air through the nose and into the lungs. As they exhale or breathe out, their belly decreases in size.

For many people, this kind of breathing is no longer natural. Instead, many of us have become shallow chest, inhaling through our mouth, holding our breath and taking in less air.

Over time our breathing patterns have changed as a reaction to environmental stressors such as traffic and noise exposure, air pollution as well as mental stress stress of everyday life.


When we breathe in a shallow way, the body remains in a repeated state of stress - our stress causing shallow breathing and our shallow breathing causing stress.

This sets off the sympathetic nervous system, which is part of the autonomic nervous system (regulating involuntary body functions) that gets us ready for activity and response.

Long term shallow breathing can seriously affect our health.

The body is then more susceptible to contracting illnesses, aggravating pre-existing medical conditions, and prolonging healing times.

Shallow breathing can turn into panic attacks, cause dry mouth and fatigue, aggravate respiratory problems, and many research studies have proven that shallow breathing can cause cardiovascular issues.

Regular Abdominal breathing, or deeper breathing on the other hand, 

  • can lower blood pressure, 
  • reduce heart rate, 
  • relax muscles, 
  • decrease stress, 
  • and increase energy levels.        



 A shallow breath lowers oxygen levels in the blood, which the brain senses as stress. Stress is part of a natural survival mechanism known as the fight or flight response. So if you were in danger and needed to fight or run away, this response would be activated, known as the fight or flight response.

This fight or flight response can lead to:

  • Stomach pain,
  • bloating,
  • spasm and
  • diarrhoea.


It is normal even for those who have not been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome - IBS, for the gut to have a reaction to stress. This is the function of the gut-brain axis. 

The gut-brain axis (GBA) consists of communication between the nervous system, linking emotional and cognitive centres of the brain with intestinal functions. When you experience stress over and over again that it leads to an affect on your gut.

This leads to an increase in heart rate and breathing. Your body will also prioritise functions which would allow it to run away or protect itself.


How you personally manage your stress will depend entirely on your situation.

You may be able to change your stress levels with simple every- day lifestyle modifications.

  • A good sleep routine: lack of sleep can worsen stress.
  • Avoid stress (where possible): it may be that certain situations or people cause you stress.
  • Regular time Outdoors: spending time in nature where possible
  • Meditation: if you have ever worked with me, you will know how much I personally love this one and this helps with regular deeper breathing.
  • Complementary therapies: reflexology, yoga, meditation classes and massage.

Depending on your situation, stress management will look different. It may be that you can manage stress with self-help, or you could do with some additional support.

This week I have emailed 3 short guided breathing techniques to all my one to one nutrition clients.


Written By Elaine Baxter, Qualified Nutrition Adviser & Qualified Reflexologist - Owner Food Wise Enfield.  

Elaine helps females who are one or all of the following; mothers, active and working,
to carve out some time for just them in their busy day
to be themselves, and be inspired to nourish their body,
spend a short amount of time every day working on easing stress of everyday life ,
so that they can feel more energetic and feel better.

Message 083 371 6831 to book

your Private One-to-One Nutrition Consultation or 60 Min Reflexology Treatment now.