Correct Breathing

April 6, 2013 Lifestyle

breathingProbably the simplest way to check whether your breathing is correct or not is to place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Then take a deep, deep breath while observing which hand moves first. In case the hand on the chest moves first and considerably more compared to the one on the abdomen the bad news is that you are not breathing correctly. The good news is that you have found out and now you can do something about it.

The problem with chest breathing is that we don’t use the diaphragm to its full capacity and our lungs don’t get enough oxygen to replenish the brain and vital organs with essential nutrients. Moreover, we don’t release all the air inside, so we always have a mixture of fresh air from the next breath and “the old” air. In other words, we never manage to breath completely in and then completely out. We only expel all the air from the lungs with a sigh, in a stressful situation. Our subconscious works for us and manages to bring a boost of oxygen to the blood, once the lungs are cleared and ready to receive fresh air.

Babies know how to breath correctly. One explanation for us losing this ability as we grow older seems to be stress. Our bodies react to stressful events in the “fight” or “flight” way. The short and sharp breaths that came to be our “normal” way to breathe should prepare us for the “fight” against the threat.

Incorrect breathing can bring along insomnia, fatigue and lead to health problems like panic attacks or depression.

How to breathe correctly

Breathing correctly involves the proper use of the diaphragm. Most breathing techniques for beginners recommend to lie down and do the exercise mentioned at the beginning of the article. The correct breathing technique is achieved when the hand placed on the chest doesn’t move at all or moves the least possible. Focus on releasing all the air in the lungs and then take a slow deep breath.

Benefits of correct breathing

Besides stress relief and a calmer and happier outlook, according to the Cleveland Clinic, correct breathing reduces the workload on your lungs and decreases your body’s need for oxygen. Thus, you will be able to exercise more before you get tired and get a boost of energy when you feel lethargic and energy drained. Moreover, breathing properly can even increase your immunity and make your skin look better thanks to the fresh oxygenated blood.

The habit of correct breathing cannot be acquired at once. It is important to practice every day and not let yourself be discouraged by the fact that you will sometimes forget and get back to the “normal” shallow breathing. Constant practice will allow you to enjoy its benefits as you get used to the right way of breathing, every day.