What’s in a breath?
Breathing is the most natural thing in the world. So natural, we barely realise we’re doing it.
As soon as we bring our attention to our breath, we breathe differently.
(In fact, that’s why doctors are taught early on to monitor a patient’s breathing while looking like they’re checking their pulse, so the patient doesn’t change their breathing pattern).
It’s true that for something we take for granted, never has there been more awareness over the importance of our breath and breathing.
We take up to 17,000 breaths a day – yet, not every breath is the same.
How we breathe can make all the difference to how we feel, how our body reacts and our long-term health.
Just as an example, try this.
Try to keep your breathing shallow and take a series of short sharp breaths, breathing in and out intensely for a few seconds.
It’s difficult to do, isn’t it?
As you’re doing it you can feel the anxiety rising as your body gasps to take in more breath.
Now, take it slow.
Draw in a long, deep breath filling your lungs for a few seconds. Hold it in your lungs for another few seconds and then breath out slowly. Do this a couple of times and keep it slow and deep.
How much different does that feel? All the anxiety and heightened emotion just melts away.
If we can quickly alter how we feel with just a few changes to our breath, just think what impact your breathing has over the course of a day and 17,000 breaths.
Breathwork has long been a fundamental part of many practices, such as Buddhism and yoga.
Long before we picked up on breathing and mindfulness as an aspect of health and wellbeing, generations of people knew the benefit of harnessing the breath to calm the body and mind.
When we breathe, the diaphragm contracts and moves forward, increasing the space in your chest cavity and allowing your lungs to expand into it. The pair fill with air inhaled via your mouth and nose, which is then pushed into the alveoli and out to the blood.
On the exhale, the alveoli absorb carbon dioxide from the blood and the diaphragm moves down, squeezing the lungs and pushing air out, along with the waste carbon dioxide which passes through your nose and mouth. It’s mind-blowing stuff.
Placing a focus on the way you’re breathing helps relieve stress, aids relaxation, reduces cortisol and increases your overall sense of wellbeing. All thanks to the way oxygen is released into the body.
You can optimise those feel-good responses by practicing breathwork. In fact, you may wish to read Breathe Well by Aimee Hartley, who advises on the best way to breathe at different points during the day.
Or you could download one of the many popular apps which guide listeners through breathing exercises appropriate to their requirements. We like The Breathing Zone.
Another way to increase the flow of oxygen around the body and enjoy its benefits is by using supplemental oxygen. Used throughout the day it can boost your energy levels, improve mental acuity and reinvigorate the body.
Find out more: https://www.clearo2.com/shop/15l-oxygen-can-with-inhaler-cap/
What’s in a breath?