Breathing, we all do it!
This post will explain why we breath, how we breath, what happens when we over or under breath and ways of controlling our breathing. We all need oxygen to survive so I think this information is vital before we begin to learn about any other form of mindfulness or other hippy related topics! Something as simple as breathing can have major benefits for our physical and mental well being.
When we breath we inhale oxygen and breath out carbon dioxide. For our body’s to function to the best of its abilities we need the correct balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in our body’s. This can be done through the correct rate and depth of our breathing. Usually we just breath automatically and the odd time can control it. For example blowing up balloons or holding our breath under water is a form of control.
Our moods have a major impact on our breathing. If we feel anxious or stressed our breath may quicken and you may find yourself taking deeper breathes to try calm yourself down. People tend to panic when this happens. This can bring on things people know as ‘panic attacks’. When we breath too much we increase levels of oxygen to the blood and decrease levels of carbon dioxide. Also not breathing enough will decrease oxygen and increase carbon dioxide. When the body notices this imbalance it reacts with a range of symptoms: dizziness, confusion, breathlessness, blurred vision, increase in heart rate, tingling sensations, clammy hands, stiffness. I think we’ve all experienced these feelings before exams, interviews, first day on the job…. Some people may think they are having a heart attack or in extreme cases are ‘going to die’. You might feel as if you’re smoothering and cannot get enough air into your lungs but in fact you are actually taking waaaay too much air in and that’s why you experience these symptoms.
Things that can help rebalance your oxygen and carbon dioxide levels are simple tasks like yawning (my personal fav). Being in control of your breathing is also skill to have. Its main aim is to relax the mind and body which can be done through deep, slow and controlled breathing. Below is an easy an easy to follow exercise for controlling your breath. As they say, practice makes perfect!
Find somewhere comfy to sit or lie down. No music, no tv or other interruptions, knock your mobile on airplane mode and Try this simple beginners exercise below:
- Take a deep breath in for 4 seconds (through the nose if possible)
- Hold the breath for 2 seconds
- Release breath for 6 seconds (through nose if possible)
A lot of my future posts will refer back to breathing so it’s good to have a bit of background on its importance and have some practice before you try out some proper relaxation stuff. I personally use controlled breathing every day. It’s become part of my daily routine. I use it when I experience quick breathing from exercise, anxiety in interviews or during meetings or just everyday sh**t that we all experience.