How do you breathe?

Do you breathe deeply and expand your lungs to capacity?

Do you take short inhales and exhales?

Do you breathe then pause then breathe then pause?

Take this quick test:

While sitting down, place your right hand on your bellybutton and inhale.

Did you belly rise or did your shoulders?

Repeat the exercise and this time count while you inhale? Inhale, 1,2,3,etc..

Did you count to less than three? 

If you answered that your shoulders rose or that you counted less than three you might need some help learning or relearning how to breathe.

We take breathing for granted.

We do it from the moment we are born until we take our last breath when we die. It is something we do approximately 18 times per minute, 1,080 times an hour and 25,920 times a day. So how is it that many of us are not breathing correctly?

When we are stressed and in a state of anxiety it’s common to take quick shallow breaths. I’m sure most of you even hold your breath on occasion and fascinatingly 80% of us seem to have "email apnea" a term which refers to when you hold your breath when your email pings or when really concentrating on writing an email. Breathing in this manner is proven to increase stress levels, impact our attitude, our sense of emotional well-being, and our ability to work effectively.

Many of us tend to take sips of a breath and hold it when we're anxious, both of which can have a ripple effect through the system. One bad habit, like shallow breathing, triggers another. Breathing incorrectly can make you more susceptible to lower back pain.

On a philosophical level, breathing properly helps to keep the mind open, enabling you to think about who you are and what and why you're doing something. But primarily, if you breathe in the right way, you'll have better digestion, your balance will be improved, and you'll develop an optimum posture."

So why do so few of us know how to breathe properly?

Breathing is, of course, fundamental to being alive.

Every living cell in the body needs a continual supply of oxygen. Inside each cell, oxygen combines with food molecules in a chemical reaction called oxidation, which releases energy. This energy powers every process in the human body.

To breathe properly, you need to use your diaphragm, the large sheet-like muscle that lies at the bottom of the chest cavity. To find your diaphragm, sit comfortably or lie on your back on the floor. Place your left hand on your upper chest and your right hand on your abdomen, in the 'gap' of your rib cage.

Learning how to breathe from the abdomen is very important:

1.      because the blood in the lowest part of the lungs is the richest for oxygen.

2.     if you put all the stress for your body support and breathing on your upper chest and shoulders, this will exacerbate any difficulties you suffer with your lungs. For this reason you should also work to strengthen your core muscles around your abdomen and lower back.

Some of the benefits of breathing properly:

      decreased depression and anxiety

      increase happiness

      improved sleep

      strengthen ability to regulate emotions

      better digestion

      less inflammation in the body

      better relationships

      detoxes the body

      relaxes the mind and body

      eases physical pain

      massages your organs

      increases muscle

      strengthens your immune system

      improves posture

      improves the quality of your blood

      strengthens the lungs

      assists in weight management

What can you do?

Start to be aware of your breathing.

Spend time mindfully breathing – hand on your belly and breathing in deeply and out fully for 5 minutes each day.

Book in withgrace for your free first consultation and start to enhance your wellness.

www.withgrace.com.au