You probably move through your life breathing on auto-pilot, which is understandable, because you can’t constantly be occupying your mind with monitoring how you are breathing. And yet, unlike your heart beat or your hair growing, breathing is a bodily function which you can control. If you have ever held your breath, sighed or taken a deep breath to calm down, you already know that.
Breathing correctly is as important to your health and well-being as, well, air! The average person takes 25 000 breaths a day, without thinking about a single one of them. But you should start thinking about your breathing, because it can have huge effects on your health. Many people suffer from unnecessary stress, anxiety and poor health, just because we don’t breathe deeply enough.
What these things tells you is this: your breathing can affect your mood, your stress levels and your ability to cope. It can even help you to manage panic attacks, anxiety and stress.
Your breathing may reveal clues to your mental and emotional state, but it works both ways. By controlling your breathing, you can actually control your emotions, too. Anyone who has ever taken a deep breath to stop from losing their temper will know that!
Your Emotional State and your Breathing
When you are feeling negative emotions such as stress and frustration your breathing becomes shallower and shorter. Any time you experience stress or anxiety your body reacts instinctually by pumping adrenalin through your system.
Adrenalin prepares you for the flight or fight instinct by raising your heart beat, and causing you to breath in sharp, short breaths. Which is why it helps to take deep, slow breaths when you are consciously trying to calm yourself down. By not breathing properly you are more likely to become depressed and anxious.
Your Breathing and your Health
By constantly breathing in short, shallow breaths you are opening yourself up to health problems such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, insomnia, indigestion, autoimmune problems and increased chances of contracting infection. It also makes you anxious and stressed out.
When you breath deep, healthy breaths your body is able to maintain a higher metabolism, because more oxygen is supplied to your cells. Which means healthy breathing is helpful in maintaining a healthy body weight.
Breathing healthily also helps to keep your PH levels at a normal rate. If you breathe too fast and don’t inhale deeply enough you will also decrease the amount of blood flow to your brain which means less oxygen will be released into your brain. Less oxygen in your brain means it will not be performing optimally, you won’t be able to think as clearly and you will be less able to deal with either cognitive or emotional thought processes.
Slow, deep, rhythmic breathing will slow your heart rate and ensure that your circulation is optimised, taking plenty of oxygen and nutrients around your body. It will ease your anxiety and lower your stress levels.
Are you Breathing Correctly?
Take a minute to think about your breathing. Are your breaths short and shallow? Or are they deep and slow?
Place both your hands on your belly and breath in. Does your stomach rise? Can you feel the air filling your lungs? Or are you breathing in with your chest first?
Now you don’t need to breathe so deeply that you hyperventilate, but you should not be breathing like someone who is about to receive bad news either.
Does your rib cage expand to the sides when you breath in? You should be able to notice a definite expansion of your trunk around the sides when you breathe in.
Are you breathing in through your mouth? Unless you have sinus issues you should be breathing through your nose as this allows for deep breaths.
Do you the muscles in your upper chest, your neck and shoulders often feel tight and tense? If they are you are probably not breathing correctly, because you need to be relaxed to breath easily.
Do you yawn frequently? This can be a sign that you are not getting air deep enough into your lungs.
If your resting breathing rate is more than 10 – 12 breaths a minute then it’s too high. Your breaths are too short and fast.
Do you slouch forwards or have poor posture? You can’t breathe deeply if your diaphragm is constricted by poor posture.
How to ensure you Breath Properly
If you are worried that you aren’t breathing correctly there are things you can do to take control of your breathing. These exercises are not things you will do all day long, but by doing them occasionally, you teach yourself what proper breathing feels like. By dong these exercises every day for a few weeks, you will get your body into the habit of breathing properly and become more conscious of what your body should feel like. Soon proper, deep breathing will become second nature to you.
Start off by lying on your back and place your hands on your stomach. Exhale through your nose until your lungs are empty. Now inhale through your nose, breathing right into your pelvis. You should feel your belly round and expand with the inhale. Breath out through your nose and start the process again. Be aware of the air and how it moves your body. Do at least ten abdominal breaths.
Get yourself a packet of balloons and blow one up every morning when you do your breathing exercises. The motion of blowing up balloons causes your diaphragm and core muscles to contract properly for breathing. If you want to make it a little more challenging, breath in through your nose instead of through your mouth. You can blow up your balloon in the sit-up position with your feet flat on the ground and your lower back pressed into the floor. As strange as this sounds it is a good way to exercise your lungs.
Exhale through a Straw
Hold a drinking straw between your lips. Breath in through your nose, taking two to four seconds to breathe in. Then Exhale through your mouth, through the straw, taking four to eight seconds to exhale. Do this at least ten times. Breathing this way forces you to slow down and be aware of your breathing.
Lie flat on your back and place a heavy book on your upper chest. Inhale deeply. The book will force the air to go past your upper chest and fill your lower lung cavity instead, as with abdominal breathing.
Holding a plank position for a minute at a time is a good way to force your body to breathe correctly. While you are in the position, breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Take a good ten breaths in the minute.
Monitor yourself every Day
Any time you are feeling stressed out or unwell, take a moment to think about your breathing. If you are not breathing optimally take the time to do some of the breathing exercises above. Slowing yourself down can help you improve your emotional and physical health, and ultimately make you more productive, effective, and healthy.
Besides breathing properly, it is important to eat the right foods to strengthen your body against toxins. Go to the next page to learn more.
About the Author:
Emma Deangela is the best selling author of The Alkaline Diet Program and 80/20 Fat Loss. She has helped over tens of thousands of men and women to lose weight and transform their health with sound nutrition advice. Is your blood acidic? Watch this video presentation and find out how to alkalize your body..
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