Resources and Learning Article 

Alleviating and managing stress and anxiety 

Content provided by Filomena Duarte 
Recognise the symptoms:- 

The Body 

A thought of danger/life-threatening event’ activates the Sympathetic Nervous System which causes too much adrenaline to be secreted to all the organs resulting in:- 
Heart pumping faster and harder (heart conditions), blood pressure rises (H.B.P- risk of stroke), respiration increases and moves into chest (respiratory problems). Excess sugar in blood (Diabetes). Excess fats (High Cholesterol) . 
Depletes Immune system (more prone to disease/ cancer/chronic infections). 
Muscular shaking and tension. 
Digestive upsets, indigestion, abdominal pain, ulcer, Irritable Bowel. 
Recurring Headaches/Dizziness. 

The Breath 

Rapid, erratic, jerky, shallow, upper chest breathing, constricted, disturbed, uneven, hyperventilate, sound. 
Optimal and effective breathing is deep, propelled by firm and measured contractions of the diaphragm. It is smooth, flowing without jerks or agitation. Even, with exhalations and inhalations approximately equal in length and there is no sound as it flows silently through the nostrils. There are no pauses in-between the breaths. The Breathe is smooth and there is an effortless transition between breaths. 

The Emotions and Mind 

Anxious, agitated and disturbed state of mind ( Rajasic). 
Irrational thoughts and fears- imagination on overdrive of negative thoughts and what ifs! 
Irritability-Anger-easily upset-mood swings. 
This is all triggered by The Sympathetic branch of The Autonomic Nervous System. If we work with the Parasympathetic Nervous System, we bring equilibrium. When the latter System is activated, the heart rate drops, blood pressure falls, respiration slows and deepens. As Dr. Carrie Demers M.D writes:-‘’ Blood flow to the core of the body is reestablished- this promotes good digestion, supports the immune system, and infuses us with a sense of well-being’’. 
The stress response in our everyday lives is now a ‘normal’ response in our everyday living. Working with the Parasympathetic System is key to changing this and giving us choice in how we manage stress. 
The linked article by Dr. Carrie Demers M.D will introduce ‘How to change the stress response’ as well as highlight stress from the medical viewpoint. 
Relax, Breathe and Meditate – The Yogic ‘Tools’ that, with practice, help alleviate our stress response in everyday life. 


Yoga Asanas/Postures effectively help to release tension in the body allowing the body to let go, relax and can activate the parasympathetic nervous system. 
Practice some relaxation exercises for example ‘Systematic Relaxation,’ ’61 Points’ and ‘Point to Point Relaxation’. Try to incorporate into your day so that you learn these, particularly in times of distress. 

Effective Breathing Practices 

Breathe Awareness– Practice through- out the day, even hourly! 
Diaphragmatic breathing. This is the foundation to all other practices to manage stress reaction and distressing emotions! 
For instruction, refer to ‘Diaphragmatic Breath Training’ with Rolf Sovik on YouTube. Highly recommended! 


Highly recommended as this trains the mind to focus and attend to whatever you choose to rather than being carried away with the thoughts! The practice is to effortlessly bring yourself back to the object of focus whenever you recognize that you have drifted back into thoughts that will trigger an anxiety response. 
Meditation with Self-Study/Observation- will help to get to the source and deeper causes of the stress/anxiety/fear. 
For personal guidance or handouts on breathing and meditation practises contact Filomena Duarte (Fil) direct by e-mail on or phone 01628-669159 to leave a message. 
Read Fil's profile here 

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