Lying in bed one night I found myself trying to go to sleep. As I tried to focus on why I was feeling so anxious I realized I’d been going 100 to nothing all day and hadn’t taken time to relax. My breath was shallow and quick. My heart seemed to be beating a million miles per hour. As I tried to take deep breaths and slow my breathing I found it almost uncomfortable to do. What I didn’t realize is I had been training myself for months to breath that way because of the lifestyle I was living.
Having 4 kids ages 21 to 14 life can be quite busy and challenging at times. Not to mention stressful. While I always take time to exercise and eat right, I don’t take a lot of breaks just to slow down and relax. Even vacations are full of activities and things to do. Many times I return from vacation more tired than I was when I left. LOL!
So why is training our bodies to breathe properly important? The way we breathe affects every part of and system in our bodies. Breathing incorrectly can lead to problems such as dizziness, anxiety, chest pain, digestive issues, neck and shoulder pain just to name a few. If we are under constant stress or if we continue to run our bodies ragged we may find we begin experiencing these things. I know I was. I even went to my physician for a complete physical. When everything seemed to check out just fine I began to pay attention to what was going on when I would begin to feel certain things. Usually it was at the end of a crazy day when I hadn’t taken the time to sit down and relax a little. So I started a few times a day to work on re-training my breathing to be slower and deeper.
It only takes about 5 minutes 3 or 4 times a day to retrain your breathing. Yoga & pilates classes are great ways to work on this as well. The best way at home to work on this is to lie on your back with your hands on your stomach. Breathe in through your nose for about 4 seconds and then hold it for a few seconds. You should feel your stomach rise as you breathe in. Exhale slowly through your mouth again for about 4 seconds. Continue to repeat this for about 5 minutes. While you may not notice changes immediately in your breath, over time you will. I will say it definitely will help you immediately to relax a little and that is a good thing too.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms my first advice is to see your physician for a complete physical. If everything checks out you may have the same issues as I did. Even if you are not experiencing these things, learning to breathe properly in our fast-paced world can make a huge difference in the way you feel and your overall health.