3 Tips On How To Breathe
If you haven’t yet, start to become aware of how you breathe. Intentional breathing can improve your resilience, reduce pain, improve posture, soothe stress and lower anxiety (among other wonderful benefits). If you haven’t yet, do yourself a favour and pay a few minutes of attention to how you naturally breathe:
- Are you taking deep or more shallow breaths?
- Is your breathing loud or quiet?
- Do you sigh often?
- Where are you breathing into your stomach and lower ribs or chest only?
- Are you breathing through your nose or mouth?
- How quick are your inhales and exhales?
- Does your breathing pattern change throughout your day?
The way you breathe can enhance your experience of life and your health. After all, there’s more to breathing than just keeping you alive.
Now that you’ve become aware of how you breathe, below you will find some ways you could improve your breathing and tap into the benefits of doing so.
Important note: Do not change your breathing if you are pregnant or ill. Rather learn with an instructor.
1. Nasal Breathing
When you breathe through your nose, Nitric oxide (NO) is released in the nasal airways. This release of NO will follow the airstream to lower airways and into the lungs. From the lungs and lower airways, NO is then distributed through the whole body. It’s safe to say, nasal breathing helps to increase NO and has numerous other benefits, including:
- The increase of NO in the body helps to prevent infections.
- Nasal breathing warms the air on its way into the lungs.
- It helps with facial structure development creating more airway space.
- Assists with keeping the nose clear and unblocked.
- It automatically helps to strengthen the breathing muscles due to natural added resistance.
2. Slow And Paced Breathing
Breathing with a slow, deep and steady pace can help to strengthen your Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS), which can change neural pathways over time away from pain and reset the default response to safety and life. This process helps with resilience. You can read more about it in my blog: The Connection Between Mood, Anxiety, Pain And Breathing.
Slow and paced breathing helps to:
- Balance the Autonomic Nervous System.
- It’s proven to have the potential to reduce pain.
- Helps to calm anxiety.
- Increases oxygenation by creating the best biochemical environment for oxygen release into the tissues.
Tip: Aim for 6 breaths per minute, but be cautious. If you are nowhere near there, you need to learn it. (link – the oxygen advantage courses)
3. Into Your Belly – Diaphragmatic Breathing
The Diaphragm is a large and thin muscle that separates your abdominal cavity into two. When you breathe, this muscle gently moves in sync with your breathing rhythm, massaging surrounding organs and strengthening structural tissues and bones. Breathing into your belly not only soothes your inner organs, but it also helps you to remain calm instead of anxious or stressed. Below are some more benefits of this kind of breathing:
- Strengthens the PNS as mentioned in the previous section. This supports your rest-and-repair nervous system.
- Supports optimal function of the digestive tract.
- Creates space in the lungs.
- Can improve lung function.
- Supports posture.
- Often relieves back ache, neck pain and headaches.
- Helps to strengthen your back and core.
If you are looking for a great breathing resource, learn more from a course with Oxygen Advantage.
The sting, throb and dull ache of pain can steal energy, life and enjoyment from us. When pain, which is usually a signal made to protect you, is persistent, it can be exhausting and frightening at the best of times.
I’m in the process of writing a book to shed light on the hard reality of chronic pain, while offering long-term solutions to take back your life. To find out more, visit my books page. Sign up to be first to know when it’s published.