The human body is a clever thing. Every day, and every night, our respiratory systems are working hard, keeping the oxygen flowing and quite simply, keeping us alive.
In day-to-day life, people most commonly breathe short and shallow. While this is adequate to get the oxygen through us, it is not optimal breathing and can have side effects, including increased feelings of stress and anxiety.
Deep breathing, right into the base of our lungs and belly lets our clever brain know that we are safe, as we have the time to breathe slower. In other words, we are not in danger, and there is no need to feel stressed or anxious.
When breathing deeper and slower, the body is in a calmer state. This can help with focus, regulating our emotions, coping with physical pain, reducing feelings of panic, even helping our bodies digest food better.
Use your nose:
When possible, breathe through your nose, instead of your mouth. The nostrils filter, warm and humidify the air, which the mouth cannot do.
Use your belly:
Proper breathing should start at the nose, then move into your belly, instead of just stopping at your chest.
There are many methods of mindful breathing, and the best one to stick with is the one that works for you. Here is a simple one to try:
- Counting to four, take a deep breath through your nose and fill up right into your stomach.
- Hold the breath in for four seconds.
- Slowly and evenly breathe out your nose for four seconds.
- Count to four again, then repeat.