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Practicing the #1 stress reliever
by Judy Hissong

Yes, that’s right – are YOU breathing? When I ask my clients this question there is often a pause – politely followed by, “I think so!” The question is not asked in jest, but rather in sincerity. You see, the number one method to stress reduction is focused breathing.

When we are born, with our newly developed lungs are still growing so we breathe very deeply – into our bellies. We have a rapid pulse as our stomachs rise and fall quickly gathering all the oxygen our growing bodies need. If you watch infants breathe, they are using all of their lungs with every breath to grow and expand.

As we become adults we tend to lose this breathing technique. In times of sadness or discomfort we may occasionally take a very deep breath otherwise called a ‘sigh’ or a ‘sob’. Why not take that deep breath right now for no reason at all? Why not push back from your desk and focus only on your breath? If you happen to have any stress (who doesn’t?), now is a great time to release it.

Push back, put both hands on your legs, and both feet on the floor. Correct your posture so that your shoulders are back and down, and your head is resting comfortably on your shoulders. With your next breath, begin a slow inhale through your nose, continuing to inhale until your lungs have expanded (not your belly, but your lungs) and then begin a slow exhale of the same duration. Repeat this process for at least three breaths. On your third exhalation, blow the air out through your mouth, and emphasize emptying your lungs. You have stored stale air in there for so long, this should feel good, and the air may even feel warm to you as you exhale.

Congratulations! You now know the best kept secret in the world – and the #1 stress-reliever anyone could ever talk about. Please, practice often, share this gift with others, and let me how it works best for you.

Judy Hissong is a professional life coach working with individuals who know they can accomplish more in their lives, but aren’t sure what obstacles are in their way. She often speaks to groups on wellness issues including stress management and the power of positive thinking. If you would like more information, contact her at or (619) 889-7884.

Are you stressed from deployment? reunion? PCS moves? military life in general?

After you take Judy's advice and breathe, be sure to check out all the great resources at

In her book Life After Deployment: Military families share reunion stories and advice, author Karen Pavlicin helps family members find positive ways to cope with challenges and disappointments during deployment and reunion.

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