Breathing Exercises Can Help With Holiday Stress

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Breathing exercises can help with holiday stressDuring the holidays many Americans may feel the effects of stress. This year and into 2011, those looking to calm down may want to try a new breathing exercise — in order to lower their anxiety — which was recently developed at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Dubbed CART for Capnometry-Assisted Respiratory Training, the biological-behavioral treatments have helped anxious patients learn to normalize their breathing. In turn, the exercises have eased hyperventilation, which for many is a side effect of a panic attack.

Patients in the university's program were engaged in the breathing therapy twice a day. They wore a device that monitored their blood's carbon dioxide levels as a way to show how changing one's breathing patterns can normalize the body. Hyperventilation can lead to low levels of carbon dioxide, which can lead to further anxiety.

Psychologist and panic disorder expert Alicia E. Meuret explained, "We found that with CART it's the therapeutic change in carbon dioxide that changes the panic symptoms."

Individuals who want to reduce stress in their lives may also want to try yoga for its measured breathing movement, but also nutritional supplements like St. John's Wort.

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