Are you breathing wrong? The answer is, probably.
Most of us are becoming chest breathers where we only take sips and shallow breaths which is not good for our health due to stress and anxiety, especially with the pandemic the world is going through for almost a couple of years now.
But don’t be troubled, that can be easily fixed with a daily good deep breathing exercise. But how do you do deep breathing every day? You might ask. Don’t worry, I got you!
I’ll teach you how to nourish your mind, body, and soul with only a few and easy steps that you can cut into your daily routine without any problem.
So sit back, take a moment, and a deep breath. Not just a simple inhale and exhale but a deep and mindful one, please! We all need a breather especially with our now.
Deep breathe in.
Deep breath out.
And let it all out.
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Shallow Breathing Vs. Deep Breathing: Explained
Have you ever noticed when you’re super busy that sometimes you feel like you forgot to breathe and you suddenly gasp for air?
Technically, you really did not forget to breathe as our brain automatically sends signals to our body to do it on its own.
What happens is that when we’re really in deep with work or other things we tend to only take in mini-breaths or shallow quick sip of breaths, which does not provide enough oxygen to our body.
This also tends to happen when we’re anxious and stressed out, especially if there’s a lot of tasks at hand that need to be done for the day. If you’re yawning excessively, that may also be a sign that your body is asking you to breathe more.
When we’re not getting enough air our body, then switches stress mode, and stress mode means headaches, low energy, upset stomach, nausea, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, weak immune system, and the list goes on, and that does not sound good at all.
We’re humans and oxygen is one of the most important things that help us stay alive and well, that’s why this is a sign telling you that’s it’s time to start incorporating deep breathing exercises into your everyday life.
But before we get into that further, I’m going to let you in on some of the amazing and wonderful benefits of what deep breathing does to your body to officially hook you into committing to it even for just a couple of minutes of your time!
Things that Deep Breathing does to your body:
Improve overall lung function – when you’re shallow breathing or only taking a few sips of breath when you’re out and about, you’re only using the upper lobe of your lungs which does not exercise the full capacity of your lungs.
But if you’re to practice deep breathing, you’ll help one of the most important organs in your body to improve its overall function.
When you practice deep breathing you’ll not just use the upper lobe of your lungs, you’ll be exercising both lungs and 100% of it and better your lung capacity.
Helps shift the body to a Parasympathetic state – I’m going a bit scientific here. The parasympathetic nervous system of our body is a state of our nervous system which is responsible for the rest and digestion response of our body when we’re resting, relaxed, or eating.
When you do deep breathing exercises this helps the body shift from the sympathetic state which is the body’s reaction to stressful events.
Deep breathing helps it activate the rest side of the brain as it shuts off the stress side and stress signals that your brain is trying to process on a daily basis.
If you do the math, the more you help your body shift into a relaxed state you’ll get better sleep, help your body digest and repair better, and help detoxify it even more as well.
Full oxygen exchange – Another amazing benefit that deep breathing provides is the full oxygenation of every cell in our body which then helps us feel more energized, decrease stress levels, makes us calmer, and even helps boost our immunity to fight off unwanted illnesses.
And did you know that breathing does 70% of cleansing the body while the other 30% is done by the bowel and bladder movements? Amazing, right?
This is who it’s important for us to fully breathe to help our body release carbon monoxide and toxins.
And since the act of deep breathing also helps expel the Carbon Monoxide out of our body this then helps every system and organ in our body improve overall function. More oxygen in means better health!
Other wonderful benefits of deep breathing:
- Releases Endorphines one of the happy hormones in our bodies
- Lowers blood pressure
- Relieves pain
- Supports proper posture
- And many more…
How Do You Do Deep Breathing Every Day? 5 Easy Techniques!
Practicing deep breathing every day will not take too much of your time, in fact, you just need to set aside a few minutes throughout the day to help yourself relax, breathe, and stay in tune with yourself to avoid burnout.
And what’s best about these techniques is that they do not require any special type of preparation as they can be done anywhere at any time. You can start by doing it in a couple of minutes and work your way up to doing a full 10 minutes or so!
Excited to start? Let’s get right into it and learn how to do it the right way in 5 easy techniques!
#1. 4-7-8 Technique
Step 1: Relax yourself and try to be comfortable sitting down or standing up and you can even do this lying down. Close your mouth and inhale through your nose to the count of four (4) seconds
Step 2: After that, hold your breath for about seven (7) seconds.
Step 3: After holding your breath you’re going to exhale slowly through your mouth for eight (8) seconds while making a whooshing sound.
You can repeat this technique for about 4-5 cycles and even more depending on your mood. This works for me all the time and it instantly gives me a reset whenever I need it.
It’s best if you can also rest the top of your tongue along the roof of your mouth while inhaling. And don’t forget about the whooshing sound while exhaling. Silent when inhaling, audible when exhaling, got it? Easy right?
You can do this at any time of the day while you’re on break or even while you’re typing or writing something down. This exercise has been a favorite of mine. It’s easy, quick, and gets your oxygen fixed!
#2. Diaphragmatic Breathing Technique
This is like a level two deep breathing technique for me, but it’s still super easy to do. I like to do this in the morning while I’m still in bed and I try to give this technique a full 5 minutes to 10 minutes max if I have the time.
The diaphragm is a muscle that helps us breathe, and this exercise will help you strengthen that muscle, decrease your breathing rate, and allow you to breathe with less effort as well.
This is like breathing therapy for me and it is a surefire way to calm the nervous system down that’s why I also like to do this before going to sleep, and to do this, just follow the steps below:
Step 1: Get yourself as comfortable as possible, it’s best to do this if you have a place where you can lie down.
Step 2: As a guide, put your right hand on top of your chest, and your left hand on top of your belly, just below the ribs which is where your diaphragm is located, try to feel your belly and cough a couple of times and you’ll know where it is.
Step 3: Now to start, you just need to inhale through your nose, but this one a bit different because you’re going to have to make sure that your belly is the one rising or expanding and not your chest.
Think of your tummy like a balloon expanding when you inhale, this might take a bit of practice but don’t worry you’ll get it quick!
Step 4: After inhaling, get ready and purse your lip like you’re going to drink from a straw and gently press your belly and let the air out by exhaling. Repeat these steps as much as you want and see the difference after.
#3. Box Breathing Technique
Another great and easy-to-remember deep breathing technique is box breathing. It is also known as square breathing as the name suggests, and I like to imagine a square figure whenever I do this to help me focus and tune in with my breathing.
The amazing thing about this breathing technique is that it also helps with increasing concentration and performance while busting your stress away as well.
Step 1: As always, try to be in a comfortable position where you can really focus on your breathing. After that, keep your hands on your palms with them facing upwards and try to maintain a good posture as well.
Step 2: This one is a bit different because you’ll be exhaling first. Slowly exhale for about 4 seconds expelling all the air out of your lungs and be mindful of your intentions and really focus on breathing out.
Step 3: After slowly exhaling you’ll be slowly inhaling breathing in through your nose for about 4 seconds again and really try to take your time when counting for this technique. You will then fill your lungs being filled with air and slowly filling your abdomen as well.
Step 4: After inhaling, you’re going to hold your breath and slowly count to 4 again.
Step 5: Slowly exhale through your mouth with the same 4 slow counts again. Then slowly hold your breath again for the same 4 counts before repeating the same cycle, repeating until satisfied.
#4. Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique
One of my best natural remedies, especially when I have a cold or just when I’m not generally feeling well is the Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique. This is a technique that helps with developing overall respiratory endurance.
It involves the use of your fingers to block one side of the nose at a time as you breathe through the other. And you alternate between them as you complete a breath on each side. This technique is best when seated down comfortably.
Step 1: Open your hands up with your palm facing upwards and take your pointer and middle finger towards your palm leaving your thumb, ring, and pinky finger extended. This is known as the Vishnu Mudra hand in yoga.
Step 2: Close your eyes and start to relax, and slowly turn your head downwards. Inhale and exhale to begin.
Step 3: Start by closing off your right nostril using your thumb, then inhale through your left nostril.
Step 4: After that, you’ll close off your left nostril using your ring finger and you’ll open and exhale through your right nostril. Remember you’ll be inhaling on one side and exhaling on the other.
Step 5: Do this for up to 10 rounds, but if you do feel a bit lightheaded, take a break by releasing both nostrils and breathe normally.
#5. Pursed-Lip Breathing Technique
A very simple breathing technique that will get you relaxed and less stressed in no time is the Pursed-Lip breathing technique.
This technique will help you take deeper breaths that are intentional and mindful at the same time as well. You can use this technique up to four or five times a day to get the hang of how to do it correctly.
This has been a go-to technique of mine especially when I’m starting to get really anxious. This also works wonders for people who have asthma, emphysema, and other lung conditions as well.
Step 1: Sit in a comfortable position. Make sure that your neck and shoulders are relaxed.
Step 2: Close your mouth and keep it closed, and slowly breathe in through your nostrils for about two seconds.
Step 3: Exhale through your mouth for about 4 seconds while your mouth is puckered up like you’re forming a kiss. Keep it slow and steady while you’re breathing out through your lips.
You don’t have to immediately fit a 10-minute routine, you can start with 1-2 minutes of deep breathing and you’ll be ready to face what the day has to bring! Give it a try, I promise it feels so good afterward.
And no matter what breathing technique you prefer, It’s clear and evident that breathing techniques do work especially when helping our body relax, heal, and repair. Breathing better helps us sleep better, eat and digest better, and just feel better overall.
And if you have the time and energy perk up your day by pairing it with simple stretches if you can swing it! Do this in a month and make it a habit, you’ll definitely see the big difference deep breathing provides.
Until our next one! Breathe in, breathe out, slow down, and trust the process!