Recently I have read that most people hold their stress in their pelvic floor muscles and if you learn how to relax these muscles, you can interrupt the stress response. These tight muscles can cause not only psychological issues such as feelings of anxiety, they can cause physiological issues such as:
- Pain that intensifies with certain movements or that is relieved by repositioning the body.
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
- Difficulty urinating.
- Frequent or painful urination.
- Urinary incontinence.
- Migraine Headaches
- Bloating and constipation.
- Lower back pain.
This video by Dr. Brainne Grogan, a Doctor of Physical Therapy demonstrates how to systematically relax the pelvic floor muscles through diaphragmatic breathing (belly breathing) and visualizations. It can also be an excellent coping strategy that breaks the cycle of stress. This form of breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, which is responsible for the “rest and digest” system in our body. It turns down the stress hormones to give our bodies a break from those stress symptoms.
A challenge for you: can you maintain awareness of your pelvic floor today? Learn to recognize if your pelvic floor is relaxed or contracted during various life situations like sitting in traffic, having a hard conversation with a family member, eating, and watching TV. If you notice your pelvic floor is contracted, can you relax it with diaphragmatic breathing “belly breathing” and visualizations of the rose opening.