Shallow breathing switches on our fight or flight reflex known as our sympathetic nervous system, this has a great affect on being able to think clearly and the obsessive thoughts we have. We’re also learning the connection between chronic hyperventilation and many problems and diseases that people see doctors for such as high blood pressure, heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn, asthma and arthritis just to name a few.
“When we take shallow breaths from the top of our chest and constantly breath from our mouths at a rate of 12 to 17 breaths a minute, a form of chronic hyperventilation can take place and this can lead to anxiety and worry”
For many months I bought multiple breathing audios trying to re-build proper breathing habits, but little did I know I was following the proper techniques to fix my shallow breathing but doing it wrongly at the same time, I was doing these exercises by breathing out with my chest rather then my stomach which is completely wrong.
And the best way to recognize if your breathing is correct or not is to place one hand on your chest, and one on your stomach. Seeing which one is rising, it should be your stomach during the 4 seconds in and 4 seconds out routine that should be practiced when feelings of panic and anxiety are NOT present.
This will in time become your regular breathing rhythm not only during non stressful times but during stress filled moments as well.
There are many different seconds that people are told they should breath in and out. In my experience these numbers i’ve shared with you have worked the best. But more importantly it’s the way you learn to breath again, and that is in and out through your nose and expanding your stomach. It’s absolutely crucial that you be reminded of proper breathing throughout the day because anyone can easily get totally caught up in an activity and revert back to bad breathing habits.
“Bad breathing makes it difficult for our red blood cells to release oxygen to cells that are in our brain and body”
Any kind of reminder will do, for me it was writing the letter B on the front of my hand, which was especially needed when I was caught up in a tennis match I was coaching that one of my players were playing, and the match would get intense and many times with it so did my breathing. Another great reminder is to wear an elastic band which in fact helped tremendously well as a reminder to have good posture also.
Poor posture results in very restricted and shallow breathing that will greatly affect your energy levels, have you ever noticed how much more difficult it is to breath properly when you’re hunched over in your chair for example?
These days so much of our time is spent crouched over on a computer, which is in fact completely opposite of what our bodies were designed for.
Good posture is as important as eating right, exercising, and getting a great nights sleep.
Wow i bet that was something you’ve never heard before! Did you know that just 15 minutes of typing or reading while using the wrong posture can exhaust the muscles in your neck, shoulders and upper back? Good posture means that the bones in your body are properly aligned as well as your muscles, joints and ligaments, and can work as nature intended. It means your vital organs are in the proper position and can function at peak efficiency.
Good posture is also a contributor to the normal functioning of the nervous system. As mentioned, it is impossible to breathe effectively in a bad posture so they very much go hand in hand, but good posture doesn’t only facilitate good breathing and helps to avoid health complications such as back aches, chest pressure and poor blood circulation, it improves your image, confidence and makes you look more attractive (now who doesn’t want that). Good posture does not mean keeping your spine completely straight and upright as most people think, plus it’s tiring, good posture means having a proper poised stance when sitting or standing, when most people think good posture they put far too much tension on the lower back and it also shortens the spine, what you want to do is pretend their is a string attached to the top of your head and it’s pulling you upwards in a straight and not curved line.
The weight of your head should be passing directly down your spine which requires little muscle activity to maintain your balance. When standing the weight of your body should be evenly distributed across the balls of your feet and not the heels or the front. Whatever your posture is during any moment in your day, you can be assured that it s greatly influencing your breathing as well as your overall attitude.
When I look at someone who’s dealing with depression, you can easily see the difference in their body language and posture compared to someone who is confident and with a positive outlook. In a study done recently in the economist in 2011, posture was in fact DIRECTLY connected to self respect.
When I heard about this study I was excited because at the time my self respect was at an all time low, I was an overly anxious person with no belief in myself whatsoever, but with the knowledge that I had about posture, body language, and breathing I had total control over regaining the belief in myself and getting my health back again.