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Just Breathe

How to destress your voice

Our advice to a confident voice

Stress can be an incredibly weakening factor in our lives and we are seeing more and more cases of stress manifesting itself in disease. We currently face the stress of our economy, uncertainty of our government and politicians, on top of the day to day strain of juggling our households, families and careers. Stress affects everyone in some form on a daily basis.

There has been an explosion of industries focusing on wellness, relaxation and de-stressing, such as going on retreats, relaxation techniques and meditation, organic foods and healthy eating habits. People want to go back to a simpler life. As a voice coach, what is interesting to me and often overlooked, is the negative impact stress has on our speaking voices.

In an article by Kathryn Senior PhD, she states that “General stress can strain your voice, as tension in the muscles of the neck and upper body can change the shape of the larynx slightly, and can cause the vocal cords to constrict. This can change the voice so that it becomes higher than usual. Other factors also come into play when we are stressed – being very emotional, angry, upset and shouting or crying a lot can all make the vocal cords inflamed, causing the same sort of effects as laryngitis.”

An article by Reader’s Digest, Best Health also states that “A stressed voice may sound more aggressive, inviting negative reactions from others, and breathing may become shallower as the pace of speaking gets quicker. If you can take the tension out of your voice, you’re more likely to breathe better, produce more efficient speech, and get a better response.”

Our advice is to take care of your voice by using it correctly. Firstly you need to learn how to relax your body in the form of exercises that help lighten the tension. This will then allow you to breathe using your diaphragm, which will reduce the stress significantly and improve the sound of your voice. Most people are lazy breathers in that they only use the upper chest for breathing. Using the support of your diaphragm to breath will enable you to lessen and possibly eradicate your stress due to the fact that diaphragmatic breathing removes toxins from your body.

De-stress your voice; it is the mirror of your soul. At VoiceWorks, we give you the tools to use your voice skilfully to help control your own stress. Breathe. Hum. Relax.