In. Out. In and Out. Sound familiar? Maybe you’ve repeated that mantra to control your own breathing or perhaps you’ve repeated it for someone else. Regardless of the circumstance, breathing is a large component to managing stress and anxiety, something of which high school students all over the nation are all too familiar with. Everyone needs to breathe, so by controlling our breathing, we should theoretically be able to calm ourselves down. However, it is a much more difficult feat to accomplish than you might think.
Anatomy and Physiology teacher, Mr. Daniel Ward, attempts to address this trouble in society by taking an in depth look at the effects of breathing on stress and anxiety levels through his recently published book, “Exhaling Anxiety: Managing Stress at Any Age.”
“The technique I go over in the book is something I use and it’s [done] by controlling your breathing and managing your stress and anxiety levels,” Ward said. “It’s one of the things, now as my 4th year teaching, I see [students] dealing with.”
Attempting to find the time to write an entire book when holding a full time teaching job in addition to family duties has proved to be a small challenge to Ward. However, he persevered and made time for his passion, publishing his book officially Sept. 22, 2018.
“It helps when your passionate about something, you kind of find the time for it,” Ward expressed. “It’s just stealing time here and there to finish it.”
Writing reviews about concerts, video games, and books for the Star Telegram and being a writer for a Latin newspaper during his high school years, Ward has a past with the written word. With this experience and his time spent teaching, he has taken his observations and created a message for people to read in an attempt to help others better manage stress, all centering on breathing.
“This breathing method is used by the Navy SEALs,” Ward explained. “One of the things we talk about in the book is that this is what our elite fighting forces use to manage stress before they go into combat situations [and] how [you can] apply this same technique to a bad text… or something your mom finds out you didn’t want her to find out.”
Stressing that this book is for all ages, Ward goes into detail throughout the book about how stress affects a person and how to alleviate it. He explains the body’s reaction to stress and why we feel the way we do.
“The release stress chemical or hormones in your body are the same as someone going into a combat zone,” Ward said. “Your body doesn’t know the difference. It’s [something] we can all learn to manage better.”
With his book, Ward hopes to “limit the negative effect on the body” of stress, for it can age you prematurely. By putting his own thoughts and experiences out into the world, he aspires to be able to reach others and help them overcome their struggles.
“If you can empower someone when they’re young to see positive ways to approach it and tackle it, like [the] breathing [technique], and not leaning on a crutch whether its chemical or putting yourself in bad situations, I think it’s a powerful thing,” Ward said.
His book can be found and bought on Amazon in Kindle edition and paperback, or is free with Kindle Unlimited.