During a recent phone interview and group presentation the main theme was to share simple strategies to begin better breathing and say bye bye blues. As simple as it may sound most people have little awareness and understanding of the importance of a natural and powerful breathing process.
Therefore, it seemed like a great opportunity to provide specific steps, strategies and suggestions to help you begin better breathing now. For many people this one simple concept alone can help you be more happy and healthy.
Imagine saying “bye bye blues” to feelings of confusion, frustration, irritation, low energy, overwhelm and sadness.
You may be thinking how can one thing as simple as breathing do all that? Glad you asked. While most people know the very basics of breathing air comes in and air goes out there is so much more that goes on during this complex process that it is well worth investing three minutes to learn more.
Function of the Diaphragm Muscle
Breathing is not the result of lung muscles contracting and expanding to pull air in and then push it out again. Breathing actually originates with the diaphragm muscle which is below the lungs and above the stomach and liver. When it contracts it tightens downward which expands the area for the lungs and they inflate like a balloon and take in more air. Then when the diaphragm muscle relaxes it compresses the space for the lungs and they release air.
Some people unintentionally interfere with this process because they are very passive breathers or they may even unknowingly impede the process. This happens to many people for several reasons: the diaphragm muscle is weak from lack of exercise, they have poor posture, their stomach is too full, excess stress, improper breathing techniques and even tight clothes.
Yes the subconscious mind is always directing the lungs to breathe and move air in and out in order to provide oxygen for the blood and then remove the carbon dioxide. Unfortunately there are many things that can interfere with this process and greatly reduce the efficiency of your lungs. For example when you eat a big meal the stomach expands and takes up extra room in the abdomen thus putting pressure on the diaphragm and lungs. Also when you sit, stand or walk with poor posture you may also reduce the space and effectiveness of the lungs ability to exchange air more effectively.
Items such as belts, backpacks, briefcases, clothing and even purses can interfere with the body’s ability to breathe properly. Not exercising the body and training the diaphragm is another reason it may become impaired and lazy. Many people live in a frequent state of stress and talk a lot which definitely hinders the breathing process and results in insufficient levels of oxygen and excess carbon dioxide which impacts their attitude, health and thinking. This is one of the key reasons why so many students and workers are underperforming their true capabilities. Even dehydration can reduce your ability to breathe at your optimal level.
Obtaining Peak Level Breathing
Now that you are more aware of the problem it is time to focus more on the solutions. A great first step is to observe the breathing patterns of a baby. When they take a breath you can see their belly expand as the diaphragm contracts and the lungs fill with air. It is imperative to remove all the things that can block or impede the diaphragm from functioning at a peak level.
Exercising daily with aerobic and anaerobic exercise will increase your heart rate and condition your diaphragm and lungs to function more efficiently. Simple steps such as sitting and standing up straight throughout the day will help you be more conscious and connected to your breathing. Riding a bicycle, taking the stairs and walking are simple steps you can do to help develop and train your diaphragm and lungs to be more efficient and effective. Even singing will help you focus on your breathing and may even put a smile on your face.
Setting Up Daily Breathing Exercises
Another great tip is to practice deep diaphragmatic breathing several times a day. This is as simple as breathing in through your nose, holding and then breathing out through your mouth using a 1:4:2 counting ratio as you go through the sequence of breathing. As an example you would expand your abdomen and inhale a big breath through your nose as you silently count to 5 then hold for 20 and then exhaling all the air you can through your mouth during a count of 10. This would be a 5:20:10 ratio and is the same ratio as 1:4:2 multiplied by 5. (If this basic math is not clear you may benefit from some deep breathing now)
Using this simple process for several minutes several times a day can help you think clearer, perform better and even remember things easier. Over time you may notice that your lungs are able to expand easier and further than they are currently. You will be amazed out how energizing this simple process is when you are feeling a bit stressed or tired. Give it a try and see how great you can feel with some deep diaphragmatic breaths. Remember this process may give you so much energy and oxygen you feel super charged and a bit light headed
Now that you have a better understanding of the disadvantages from shallow breathing and the advantages of deep and full breathing you can begin to manage the factors that influence your breathing. Today is a great day to rediscover the many advantages of deep breathing and then give the body what it needs to begin better breathing and say bye bye blues.
Our next blog post will share: GMO…Friend or Foe?