Growth & Grace Podcast Episode #25
EP 25: Deep Breath: The Importance of Breathing Properly
We need oxygen to survive.
It is the first and last things we do in this life.
I've taken yoga classes and they always say to focus on your breath
There are tons of different breathing techniques we use in counseling, to help with panic and anxiety disorders.
I have known the importance of breathing, but just recently in my life I really started to be more aware of my breathing and it has made a BIG difference in my stress levels and how clear my head is. When I just take a few moments, and I open up my diaphragm and breathe deeply, I just feel lighter and more free.
I know it sounds a little crazy…but it's true!
So when I was doing some research on the art of breathing…I learned a lot. And I first learned some reasons we might not be breathing properly. Because the reality is that we have to breathe to live, so I can see your eye rolls already…but seriously y'all. Bear with me! Here are some reasons you might not be breathing properly.
We are in a culture where we sit A LOT…more than we are designed to do. And when we sit it, we are often slouched over our lungs are squished and it is hard to push out our stomach or really fill our lungs siting like that.
A lot of us are also not doing enough exercise, especially cardio that makes us focus on our breathing.
A lot of us are under constant stress and tension which tends to make us breath shallow and fast, rather than deep and slow.
I also read that in western culture, from the time we are children we are told to suck our stomachs in…to look thin or what have you. And if we are doing that, sometimes unconsciously, then it is impossible to take a deep breath!
Okay Amber Lea, I hear you…maybe I don’t 'breath right' but I'm still living. Why should I even put my energy into this…well let me tell you. SO many reasons!
It relieves anxiety, stress and tension in the body.
It helps our psychological state and with regulating our emptions. It can help stop panic attacks, freezing or choking under pressure and lowers our stress levels.
It can help bring our heart rates down into a range that is best for our brains and bodies to function.
It can actually help detoxify the body.
It helps oxygenate the body which allows us to heal better and live longer.
It can help focus the mind, clear our thoughts.
Create an inner peace.
I learned that breathing into the stomach or using the diaphragm activates the calming receptors situated there.
It helps you control your anger and fear so you can react appropriately.
It lowers the release of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline in the bloodstream. It is that stress hormone that triggers our fight or flight instict.
It helps us deal with pain and breathe through it. I haven't had a baby, but we do always tell women who are in labor to breathe!
Okay okay… I hear you! But what am I doing wrong?! How do I know?
Breathe through the nose. Every breath you take should go in and out through the nose. When you breathe through your mouth, the lungs get a lot more “unfiltered” air that is raw, cold, dry and full of viruses and bacteria. Who knew?! At first, I felt like I wasn't getting enough air breathing through my nose…but after a few days my body adjusted.
Breathe with the diaphragm. The air you breathe in through your nose should go all the way down in your belly. Your stomach should lift first and then your chest. You are not breathing deep enough if you shoulders move.
At first, it will feel weird to focus on your breath. Set a little alarm on your phone that reminds you to check on your breathing. Take a few minutes a couple times a day to make sure you are breathing deep.
Another thing you can do is meditation. It is a lot of focus on breath, and finding the rhythm of breathing. There are lots of perks of meditation that I'm not going to get into here…but it can be a good starting place to focus more on breathing.
Take a keep breath a few times on
That's all I have for today! Thanks for listening!