How To Breathe Correctly

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Everyone has to breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Many of us are not breathing properly. We are taking too shallow breaths and not realizing the health benefits derived from proper breathing.

When we are very young we breathe using our diaphragm and we breathe slowly and effortlessly. (Check a sleeping baby and you will see his little belly is going up and down as he breathes.) Within a few years we have learned to use improper breathing habits which continue throughout our lifetime.

Instead of breathing deeply using our diaphragm we develop the habit of shallow breathing or holding our breath or over breathing.

When you are not breathing properly you interfere with many functions of your body. You may not be getting a decent nights sleep. You will have less energy since your cells are not receiving all the oxygen they need. You blood pressure may be higher since the blood vessels may constrict and this may cause the heart to work harder. Improper breathing may unbalance your nervous system leading to higher stress levels. Lack of oxygen may cause your muscles to tire more quickly and become tense and stiff. These are just some of the negative effects of improper breathing.

Breathing properly will provide you with more energy, less anxiety and generally improved health.

To find out if you are breathing properly place one hand on your abdomen and the other hand on your chest. Take a deep breath and see which hand moves first. If you are breathing with your diaphragm the hand on your abdomen will rise first.

If you are not breathing properly make a conscious effort to improve your breathing.

Diaphragmatic-Breathing

Breathe through your nose and inhale all the way down to your belly. Most of the inhaling should be done by the diaphragm so your breathing is deep.

Breathing through your nose refines the incoming air so your body is able to make use of it as effectively as possible. If your nose has become stuffy because you have been a habitual mouth breather within a few days of breathing through your nose your nostrils should be open again.

When you breathe through your mouth your lungs ingest air that has not been filtered and contains bacteria and viruses as well as feeling raw and cold. Learn to breathe through your nose and your lungs will thank you.

Be sure when you are breathing through your nose you take deep breaths using your diaphragm. Your diaphragm was designed for your breathing and by using it together with other breathing muscles in the abdomen, chest, neck and shoulders your breathing should be nice and deep. By breathing using your diaphragm to do most of the work you have a more effective way for the lungs to receive proper air. Using the diaphragm reduces pressure on the chest so the heart does not need to work as hard.

You can train yourself to breathe correctly. When you are breathing properly you can feel your diaphragm pushing down on your belly. By using the diaphragm to breathe properly you reduce stress and become more relaxed

While you are training yourself to breathe properly be aware and take long inhales. Count to three while you inhale and again when exhaling. This will make you conscious of the breathing pattern. Practice this proper breathing many times each day and you will become aware of the positive improvements in your emotional and mental state. Good proper breathing habits will have positive physical benefits for the entire body.