One of the most difficult side effects for those grieving the loss of a loved one is stress. Many of us already live stressful lives under normal circumstances. Add the element of losing a dear one, and in some cases, the bread winner, and our health can suffer more than we realize.

In moments when we experience stress, breathing becomes quick, short and erratic. The result is not enough oxygen reaching the different organs of the body. People can become light headed.  They can hyperventilate, faint or become sick. Consequently, the body stops running as smoothly as it was designed. A prolonged period of stress can cause some serious ailments such as migraine headaches, loss of sexual desire, irritable bowel syndrome, sleeplessness and interruption of memory.

When we are upset, people will remind us to take several, long, deep breaths. This regulates our breathing which allows oxygen back into the body so we feel better again.

Medical research concludes that deep breathing will reduce anxiety and stress which will enable the body to relax. The result is an increase of self control, better posture and more energy. In addition, proper breathing reduces muscle tension and boosts the immune system. It can even relax us so we can sleep.

Planned breathing sessions can allow you to regularly exhale stress and anxiety when you are grieving. If you like, you can light a candle, add aromatherapy and play soft, soothing music. All of these enhancements will slow down the mind so the body will relax. The music will also help to insulate you from surrounding noise such as a honking horn, your neighbor’s television or a slamming door. This will enable you to better focus on your breathing.

If you’re interested in trying deep breathing as a way to assist you through a period of grief, a common practice is to start by sitting upright in a comfortable chair. It is best if the chair is stationary. With your legs uncrossed and feet flat on the floor, place your hands on your thighs.

Close your eyes and just sit quietly for a moment. Breathe normally as your body relaxes to a quieter state. Push the clutter from your mind and focus on your breathing. It is important to go slow and not rush through this time. When you are ready, slowly inhale through your nostrils and hold for a count of 5. You want to take deep breaths from your abdomen so you absorb more oxygen into your body. Shape your mouth as if you were drinking from a straw and slowly exhale. As you exhale, think of the stress and tension leaving your body. Some people like to slowly count 1-2-3-4-5 as they inhale and then reverse the count when exhaling. Repeat this pattern 2 more times to finish the 1st set.

Next, your session continues seamlessly as you fold your hands and place them on your stomach, just above your navel. In this position, you’ll feel your abdomen fill with air and then fall naturally when you let the air out. Again, repeat this 2 more times to finish this set. Follow this by normal breathing. Then do as many sets as you like or have time for. You may finish your breathing session with a few minutes to spare where you can enjoy listening to the music.

If you are looking for music for your deep breathing sessions, I invite you to download for free, two of my compositions off my 1st healing CD titled, In Abba’s Arms. The songs are The Fisherman’s Net and In Abba’s Arms. They combine for over 16 minutes of instrumental music and are a perfect enhancement for your deep breathing session, quiet contemplation or meditation. All you have to do is visit and download those songs.

There is nothing we can do to escape the stress and strains from grieving a loss. But deep breathing can help you take control of your life at a time when it feels so out of control.

Tags: ,

Tony Falzano

Tony Falzano is an author, college professor and songwriter who resides in Rochester, New York. He writes and speaks on the enormous health benefits that music has to offer. His articles on the power in music to heal can be found in all the major grief publications. In addition, his presentations such as, “Composing Grief” has been highly regarded in grief and hospice organizations throughout western New York. Furthermore, Tony is an award winning songwriter whose career expands 40 years. He composes music to assist people to feel calm, centered and relaxed. His music CD, “Just a Touch Away”, along with his first album, "In Abba’s Arms", have been listened to by many grieving a loss. Both CDs contain beautifully orchestrated, melodic, instrumental music designed to be a companion to those searching for healing and hope. You are invited to view, read and listen to both albums. Please visit

More Articles Written by Tony