Breathing is probably one of the most thoughtless things we do. And that’s part of the problem. Because if we paid more attention, we’d notice that our unconscious habits of shallow breathing, over-breathing and holding our breaths, have a significant impact on our bodies.
The effects of bad breathing
We breathe for two major reasons:
- To oxygenate the bloodstream and the vital organs it feeds; and
- To expel waste products and toxins from the body.
So, it makes sense that when we breathe badly, it decreases energy levels, slows the metabolism, increases infection risk, disrupts the nervous system, impacts stress tolerance, and more.
The pros of good breathing
Further, conscious breathing:
- Releases tension, relaxing the body and mind
- Elevates mood
- Relieves pain
- Massages organs
- Increases muscle mass
- Improves posture
- Improves blood quality
- Supports digestion
- Strengthens the heart and lungs
- Assists in weight control
- Improves stamina
- Improves cellular regeneration
How to breathe effectively
Start by taking 5 minutes out of your day to loosen your shoulders and practice the following:
- Counting to five, inhale through your nose, expanding your belly, and then filling your chest.
- Hold your breath and count to three.
- Counting to five, exhale fully through a slightly parted mouth.
Slowly increase the duration and frequency of your sessions. The more you do it, the deeper and smoother your everyday breathing will get, and the more conscious you’ll be of it.