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The upper chest and shoulders are one area where many people with anxiety- related problems maintain tension in their body. They constantly have raised upper chest and shoulders. For two reasons - first, this is a defensive posture (I would raise my shoulders if somebody went to strike me) - second, it stems from conditioning associated with the body's attempt to relieve tension naturally ... sighing (letting out a deep breath) is a natural way to relieve tension.

Many people with these problems hold their breath a lot (especially before going to sleep) in order to sigh. This can lead to conditioning the body to have the chest and shoulders raised and also the development of breathing from the chest rather than the diaphragm.

Try this:- throughout the day notice how high your shoulders are and drop them down (as in Yoga - 'roll them over and back'). When your shoulders are lowered do you feel ever so slightly more relaxed? Do this a number of times throughout the day (4 or 5 times) and when you are in bed before you go to sleep.

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