It is a good idea to practice diaphragmatic breathing during the course of your day. Breathing is one of the strongest tools that nature has given us and yet we often forget to use it. We forget to really breathe. Try it now, just one. One deep, slow and steady breath, through the nose if possible, into your tummy and steadily out your mouth. Feels good, doesn’t it?
How I Learned to Breathe
For me it started with the sound of a stern teenaged voice, commanding me to breathe. I was mid panic attack and can only remember coming to full awareness while hearing his voice, telling me “breathe, Dominique, breathe”. And not gently asking or reminding me, sternly instructing me to breathe. I think the solidness of his voice and the simplicity of his words are what allowed me to hear them, listen to them and steady myself a bit.
This didn’t just happen once. At one point panic attacks became a regular occurrence for me and this teenager, being the offspring of a good friend, was sometimes around. He ended up becoming quite good at helping me prevent myself from getting into a state. All by simply reminding me to breathe at just the right moments.
The Logic Behind Diaphragmatic Breathing
Often the simplest ideas are the easiest, most effective, and make the most sense. And breathing is one of the most natural and convenient tools that we have for dealing with things like stress, anxiety and even pain. Some of the many benefits that can be reaped when you breathe deeply you are:
- Release of Toxins:
- CO2 is released through breathing.
- When we dont breathe properly our bodies end up having to work double time to get rid of the excess toxins by other means.
- Better Oxygenating for your Blood:
- Allowing for smoother functioning of vital organs. Including the intestine which aids digestion.
- Improves stamina
- Healthier Blood Supply from Increased Oxygen and Better Toxin Release:
- Strengthens the immune system.
- Improves your blood’s ability to absorb and carry nutrients.
- Slow the Heart Rate:
- Helps the body and mind cope with stress.
- Improves blood circulation and lowers blood pressure.
- Promote Endorphin Production:
- Helps the body deal with pain
- Makes you feel good!
- Improves Posture
- As you breathe in deeply, your diaphram drops and your spine straightens and lengthens.
All you Have to Do is Remember
I say that reminding ourselves to breathe sounds like silly advice, but most of the times that the need to breathe was greatest were the moments when I was most likely to forget about it. For example moments of panic, maybe from running late, or of shock, perhaps from an accident. Or also just from sheer stress build-up. I often found myself jumping from one task to the next and only breathing in between tasks. Then I’d wonder why I was out of breath after sending an email! Now I try and remember to consciously practice diaphragmatic breathing at intervals during the day. Although as a back up I have a yoga and short exercise routine that I alternate between to ensure that I am getting a good dose of deep mindful breathing at least once a day.
So if the phone rings at the same time that someone calls your name, and the doorbell goes and it all just feels too much, just remember to breathe. The mountain will feel like more of a molehill if you don’t hold your breath while trying to climb it.
If you need some help with how to breathe deeply and some exercise ideas, google deep breathing or diaphragmatic breathing and you should find a surplus of information : )