It may sound silly, but many people actually don’t breathe properly! In our society we are taught to suck in our bellies and lify up our heads. This causes the shoulders and chest to do all the work when we have a specific muscle, the diaphragm, that’s supposed to make it all happen. Breathing is tied in to just about every function of the human body and mind. How we breathe influences our stress levels, emotional state, immune system, pain level, and ability to relax the body.
When we breathe in a shallow way from the shoulders and chest, we only use a small part of the lungs and end up breathing more rapidly which causes a whole host of problems. Deep belly breathing, on the other hand, lets the diaphragm do all the work and uses as much of the lung capacity as possible. Proper breathing in this manner is slow, steady, and easy. It balances the pH, calms the immune system, eases respiration, aid digestion, helps weight balance, calms the mind, removes anxiety, and evens the emotions. Good breathing can help everything from digestion to stress!
For people who deal with allergies on a daily basis, proper breathing is crucial. An allergic reaction can often times be minimized by gentle and slow breathing as this calms the immune system, relieves anxiety, and soothes the body. Taking time to do deep belly breathing exercises every day is a great way to keep the body and mind healthy.
If you find that your chest or shoulders move when you take a deep breath, it’s time to look at your breathing and start making positive changes. Work with a respiratory therapist if you have any health concerns, or just take it slow. Learning to breathe so that only your belly moves in an easy and comforting way takes time, but with practice your body will eagerly go back to this natural way of breathing.
Above all, never forget to take time each day to simply sit and take a few deep breaths. Deep breathing into the belly can change a mood in an instant!