Matt's Musings

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6/24/20 Too Simple to Believe

I'd like to pass along a relaxation technique that I share with most of my clients (especially anyone who experiences anxiety). These are stressful times. We can easily fall prey to emotional dysregulation during uncertain times like these.

The research-proven best treatment for mild to moderate anxiety is diaphragmatic deep breathing. I teach clients to breathe in slowly through the nose until full (up to even a ten second inhale), then hold (couple seconds), and then exhale through the mouth; pursed lips, small stream, audible (even slower than the inhale). This slow and deep breathing tricks the emotional regulatory parts of the brain into believing we are physically and emotionally safe! The amygdala (often called the "internal smoke detector of danger"), controls our fight, flight or freeze response. When triggered by a fear catalyst, all kinds of unpleasant sensations are experienced in the body. When the amygdala recognizes the deep breathing the meaning the amygdala makes is "we must be safe", and the danger responses are reversed. The deep breathing engages the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the "rest and digest" response. Ahh!

This technique alone is proven to reduce anxiety symptoms 30% to 50%! To experience this life-changing magnitude of relief, use the technique four times a day for four minutes. Literally hundreds of my clients have reported this level of symptom improvement over the years. I honestly don't remember a single client who has used the technique as suggested who has not experienced dramatically positive results. 

Unfortunately many people find this too simple and easy to believe and miss the benefits because they don't choose to use it.

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