It seems that lots of people don’t realize how important the way they breathe is. Having habits like taking shallow breaths or sometimes holding the breath can contribute to back and neck pain and increase your stress.
Habitually taking shallow breaths means the smaller muscles of the chest and neck are doing the work instead of the larger and stronger diaphragm. Take a minute – or several – to breathe fully, focusing on letting the diaphragm and belly move. Allow the lungs fill all the way up then gently exhale.
For some mainstream news coverage of stress reduction and breathing, see this CNN story.
For a deeper study of the breath, I recommend The Breathing Book by Donna Farhi. My yoga teacher talked about this book for years before I finally went through this book and did the exercises. I found it to be transformational!