“Do you know that a great many of us do not actually breathe properly? It is one of the most important elements of life, otherwise, without the breath, we cannot live.
Breathing may be an automatic function and a vital one, why then do we spend so much of our time shallow breathing? When we breathe in an unmindful way, we often fail to fill our lungs fully as we only using the upper part, but like anything, our lungs must be worked. Shallow breathing limits the range of motion of the diaphragm, and this can make you feel anxious and, as if you do not have sufficient breath.
We need oxygen for every single cell in the body. Inhalation and exhalation impact the heart and lungs but also, is essential for energy production. Your body’s tissues and organs are made up of cells, and they must receive the right nutrients and oxygen to function correctly.”
“How often do we pay attention to how we breathe? We don’t really, until we succumb to colds or chest infections. There’s little attention paid to our respiratory system. It’s only when you struggle to breathe that you realize just how important it is. If you consider that your nose, windpipe, lungs, circulatory system and the muscles all provide the vital role of transporting those all-important breaths that you take, each part of the body’s systems are inter-linked, but without breath, the body fails to exist.
Dr. Herbert Benson wrote about controlled breathing in his book The Relaxation Response which discussed the oxygen exchange i.e. oxygen being inhaled while carbon dioxide is released. He stated that by controlling breathing, it centers the parasympathetic nervous system which counteracts the body’s fight or flight response. So, this means that by focusing on the breath, it’s possible to de-stress and to manage any anxieties (and anxiousness equates to shallow, rapid breaths). But it also increased brain growth and lowered blood pressure and heart rate. Research endorses this argument and so, yes, focus, breathe correctly, and be healthy.”
“Our breathing is either:
Thoracic or diaphragmatic
Interrupted or continuous
Irregular or rhythmical
Paying attention to how you breathe is important, but it’s also relevant to consider that your breathing is affected by your emotional or physical well-being. Think back to a time when you were angry, fearful or sad, these emotions would have affected your breathing. As you try to recall the memory, tune into the physicality’s of the moment. What was your breathing like? It’s important for you to determine if you have emotional triggers which will interrupt the natural process of breathing. Awareness is key because you can then re-train automatic responses, breathing correctly while improving your health.”
“Have a go at monitoring your breathing for a while and notice if you are guilty of shallow breathing all the time. It’s easy to correct so don’t worry if you do this. It’s very easy to fit some techniques into your daily life and, if you feel anxious at any point or fearful, know that when you focus on your breathing, you can reduce this feeling. The breath has such a calming effect. When I’ve been fraught with tension and have been worrying like mad about things, I found that by taking slow, deep breaths and focusing on the inhalation and exhalation, it really works. If you tune into the breath and focus, you can’t worry about anything else.
There are so many symptoms associated with anxiety and these include:
“We’ve already discussed the connection between the mind and the body and so, it won’t surprise you to know that if you start feeling anxious, it’s possible to experience severe physical reactions. It’s true to say that some people are even hospitalized because they feel they might be having a heart attack. Many symptoms occur through shallow breathing. In fact, anxiety and shallow breathing go hand in hand. This is because the individual takes in only small breaths during any anxiety attack instead of breathing all the way to the bottom of their lungs. Shallow breathing may not be dangerous as such, but you can bet that it’s not good for you.
With shallow breathing, there’s often a need to take deeper breaths, simply because you are not getting in sufficient oxygen levels.
Have you ever noticed that people start yawning to compensate on a subconscious level? It is the easy way to obtain sufficient oxygen and promote healing from within. Take 3 or 4 deep breaths and then go back to breathing normally, just do this more often that’s all.
“Feelings of anxiety promote the activation of our body’s fight or flight system. By its design, it is meant to keep you from safe from any danger. So, if you are faced with a dangerous situation, your heartbeat naturally speeds up, and you start to breathe faster, so to get more oxygen in your system ready for either fighting or fleeing from the situation. This, of course, makes sense.
But anyone who suffers from anxiety is probably not facing any actual danger but the body still reacts exactly as if they are.
Of course, we all suffer from moments of anxiousness from time to time. Our errant thoughts can run astray and make us hypersensitive as to all the numerous things that could go wrong in life, and don’t we always think the worst? Left unchecked, this can develop into some sort of anxiety disorder, and you don’t want that.”
“When this happens, your body consistently starts to release adrenaline, behaving as if you are in a terrifying and life-threatening situation. The chances are you are not in a life-threatening situation, but your stress response activates anyway. You will breathe more rapidly but shallowly. In a panic attack, the individual can end up hyperventilating. Let’s dismiss one myth here when you breathe shallowly, it does not mean that you need to increase your oxygen levels. Actually, it is the opposite. It means that you are over-breathing, shallow rapid breaths and exhaling carbon dioxide far too quickly before your body can make more.
Let’s consider the importance of breathing correctly. Inhale, and oxygen levels increase. But carbon dioxide actually takes time to develop and so, when the breath is shallow, you emit more CO2 than your body creates. It is this that will eventually lead to hyperventilation.
Now, as you hyperventilate, your body feels as if it is not getting sufficient levels of oxygen. Therefore, you start to take even more quick breaths in as you’ll feel panicky and of course, this makes it worse.
Hyperventilation will lead to other side-effects including:
Tingling sensation Feeling feint
Aches and pains
Reduced mental clarity.
Surprisingly, shallow breathing is one of the most important things to control, and if you can understand how shallow breathing is connected to anxiety, it makes it so much easier to deal with it.
You may not want to slow your breathing down during an anxiety attack, but it is important to fight the urge to take deep, fast breaths but instead, just to slow down the breathing cycle. To do so, focus on your breathing and make each breath deliberate. Counting can help, and you should inhale for 5 seconds, hold the breath for 2 seconds and then, slowly breathe out for an extended period, for 6 to 7 seconds.”
The Goddess Bibles
A Memoir By Laura Zukerman