Right now, you’re not even thinking about the way you breathe. You simply breathe because that’s what your body needs you to do in order to keep living. And while this might seem to be a fairly simple task, it is not. Your body has to send the same message to breathe each minute or else you would cease to exist. In times of stress, the body needs to pump more oxygen into the bloodstream (that fight or flight reaction), but that also means you might breathe more shallowly than you normally do. This can actually make you feel more stressed as a result. You need to change your breathing to change your life.
Testing Your Breathing
Making sure you are breathing right. Take a hand and place it on your stomach. Breathe normally for a few moments. Does your hand move up and down? For those who are stressed, they tend to breathe shallowly or up further in their chest. With each breath, they are taking in less air, which means they need to breathe faster. Or you might notice you hold your breath when you are stressed. The ideal way to breathe is to breathe deeper belly breaths, deep enough that your hand would move up and down with each breath. You will get more oxygen in your bloodstream, which would help you to calm down. Using biofeedback program like Stress Sweeper helps to verify the correctness of breathing and improve breathing techniques.
Why Breathing is Important for Stress Management
When you breathe shallowly, your brain isn’t getting as much oxygen as it needs. If this should happen, your body can become tense and your anxiety levels will rise. In addition, the less you breathe, the more unfocused you can become, which can lead to more stress…and the cycle continues. In order to keep your brain happy, you need to breathe deeply as much as possible, taking in as much oxygen as possible.
Ways to Teach Yourself to Breathe
Since we all seem to have some sort of device which can sound an alarm, try setting your phone or your computer calendar to beep once an hour. At those times, take a few moments to check in with your breathing to make sure you are breathing as deeply as you can. You might also want to spend additional time during longer breaks just watching your breathing and slowing it down. Or just run Stress Sweeper for 10-15 minutes to make sure you're completely relaxed.
It will take time, but learning how to breathe deeply is a simple and effective way to help reduce your stress levels. Each day, take some time to notice how you are breathing and to correct the deepness of each breath as well as how quickly you are breathing. The more you slow things down and pay attention, the easier it will be to breathe normally and healthfully.