Causes of Shallow Breathing
What happens to you when you get stressed?
It could have a deadline at work causing stress.
Maybe you're late to pick up the kids.
Or maybe you're just spending long hours hunched over your computer. You do not even realize that your body is stressed and fatigued.
Or (heaven forbid) you've just had a disagreement with your significant other. You know. That special person in your life.
So What Happens?
So what's the first thing that happens when stress or emotional turmoil enters the world you'd like so much to keep happily energized?
Your breathing shuts down.
Your guts tighten up.
Your diaphragm freezes.
The focus of your breathing moves up high in your chest. Your breath gets short and shallow. Stress and tension prevail. And, before you even know it, anger, sadness or fear rises up inside you. You try to choke these emotions back down because it's a BIG social no to express them in public. You really do not want anyone to see you upset. It's not cool.
Now, with the added stress of trying to keep your cool, your already tight guts twist into painful knots. Your chest freezes. And your throat constricts as you stifle your feelings so that you do not say something you'll regret.
A Bad Habit Forms
When this scenario repeats itself over and over, a habit forms. A bad habit.
Soon, without being aware of it, you become a habitual shallow meat. You never take a full, deep, relaxing breath.
Well, so what?
What difference does it make how you breathe? It's just breathing, right?
Wrong. Numerous medical studies demonstrate the harmful effects of improper breathing. Shallow breathing affects you physically, emotionally and mentally, contributing to many health issues.
1. Your body and brain do not get enough all important, blood enriching oxygen. Poisonous carbon dioxide builds up inside your tissues. You get fatigued. Your brain gets stupid. How are you possibly going to keep functioning effectively?
2. Your lymphatic system shuts down. Oxygen and nutrients can not pass from your blood stream into your cells. Wastes can not move out of your cells. Your cells are starved and poisoned at the same time. Serious diseases can result.
3. Your emotions get stuck inside you. Internal emotional buildup is toxic. Unexpressed emotions are a leading cause of emotional, mental and physical ill health.
4. Your life expectancy goes down. The Framingham study noted a direct correlation between reduced pulmonary capacity and longevity.
5. Your mind starts flying about from thought to thought, unfortunately seeking solutions, unable to remain still and calm enough for good answers to come naturally.
Ravi Shankar said, “The mind is like a kite, flying here and there, and the breath is like the string of the kite, generally bringing the mind back into the present moment. , back to its source, a natural state of peacefulness and joy. ”
Peacefulness and joy. Those are the benefits proper breathing rings.
Breathing Properly: The Benefits
You were born breathing properly. We all were.
Watch a baby's tummy while she breathes. She breathes in; her tummy goes out with little chest movement. She breathes out; her tummy goes in. The whole process is relaxed and natural. She's using her diaphragm to breathe with.
Singers call this diaphragmatic breathing. It's how they achieve the needed breath control to keep singing those long, long notes without running out of air.
Yogis call this pranic breathing. They do it to achieve deep states of meditation and numerous health benefits.
You can gain these benefits and many, many more from proper breathing:
1. Reduced stress and tension. Your blood pressure will come down.
2. Increased energy and reduced fatigue. You'll be able to work longer and play harder.
3. Better physical health. As the toxins clean out of your cells and nutrients rush in, your health will improve.
4. Improved emotional well being. You'll be more relaxed and happier.
5. Better personal relationships. If you're relaxed and happy, people around you will be affected to be relaxed and happy too.
6. Enhanced mental function. An oxygenated brain works better than an oxygen starved brain. This is a no brainer.
How to Breathe for a Super Charged Life
Try these exercises. Remember that it only takes about three weeks of daily effort to create a new habit pattern. Resolve to work on your breathing daily. You'll experience immediate benefits with the first deep breath. Then, as your deep breathing habit becomes established, the many other benefits will accrue automatically.
I. In the Beginning
The first step is to connect with your breath -to become consciously aware of what, for most of us, is an unconscious, automatic process. Do these exercises right now, while you're reading this.
1. Place one hand on your lower abdomen, just below your navel.
2. Breathe in while pushing out against your hand with your tummy.
3. Breathe out while pushing your tummy in with your hand.
4. Make your breaths longer, deeper and more relaxed as you get used to abdominal breathing.
If your chest is puffing out like a rooster's, your face is getting red and your shoulders are going up to your ears, you're doing it wrong. The only area that needs to move is your tummy.
II. Releasing Stress & Tension
1. Breathe in through your nose, expanding your tummy and then your chest.
2. Visualize clean, bright, sparkly light bringing joyful peace coming in and going all the way down to your toes on the in breath.
3. Purse your lips and slowly blow All of the air out-like you're blowing out through a straw. You want to empty your lungs completely.
4. See dark, sick, negative energy or any unwanted emotion going out on the out breath.
Do 9 repetitions. If you want MORE, MORE, MORE because you're starting to feel so good, you can add additional sets of 9. Stop if you get light headed.
Enjoy the wonderful benefits of natural breathing by doing the exercises daily at a set time and whenever you feel the need through your busy day -while you're driving, during a short break from your computer screen or any other time when you get a few seconds. Soon it will all be automatic.