Breathing…You’re Doing It Wrong

You have been breathing every day of your life and it happens naturally without thinking. But, with a bit of extra thought, we can be more mindful of our breathing and this breathing can lead to better health, emotionally and physically.

What You’re Doing Wrong

Take a moment and recognize what your body does during breathing. Are your shoulders moving up and down? Do you feel your torso stretching upwards? Do you feel your chest move in and out quickly with your inhale and exhale? This is not ideal breathing. While the lungs are in the chest cavity, the smallest section of the lungs is in the upper chest. The lungs get larger and extend past the upper chest. When we are using that smaller section and quickly exhaling, we are not completing a full breath or fully emptying our lungs.

What Is Happening

The body needs oxygen. When the lungs are not emptied completely, not enough oxygen is getting to the body. This quick breathing we do is causing a deprivation of oxygen in systems such as digestion and metabolism. Not only is food not being properly digested, low energy is a result of the shallow breathing. And because we are using shoulders and the neck, stress is being created unnecessarily.

Beyond the digestive system, our brains are not receiving enough oxygen and this can result in anxiety, depression, and even dementia.

Our bodies were not designed for quick, incomplete breathing, so what has happened? Simply put, our lifestyles have adapted this new breathing to compete with obesity, pollution, stress, and even poor posture.

How To Fix

The good news is we can fix our breathing. The fix will help maintain the optimum performance of our body systems, emotionally and physically.

First, posture should be worked on, especially if your job consists of a lot of sitting down. Make an effort to stand up against a wall daily for a few moments. If you do sit at work, take time each hour to get up and walk around for a few minutes. Proper posture will aid in better breathing.