Reconnect to Your Breathing to Live Better
Reconnect to your breathing to live better
There is nothing more vital and basic than breathing. We come into the world and begin to do it naturally and effortlessly. In fact, when we are very young, breathing is very easy and complete. We only have to watch a child for a few minutes to see his belly swell well when inhaling and deflate when exhaling.
In terms of breathing, it is, therefore, as we get older that it becomes complicated. With the stress of life and its fast pace, we begin quietly (and without realizing it) to breathe less fully. Our breathing becomes shorter and is more located in the rib cage than in the belly.
Do this exercise: take a moment to analyze, without judgment, your breathing. Close your eyes and pay attention. Is it slow and deep? Or rather short? Is it irregular or regular? Do you feel your belly inflated and deflated? Or rather the top of your rib cage?
Perhaps, by doing this exercise, you even realized that your breathing is reversed: your belly goes inward when you breathe in and swells when you breathe out. This is an increasingly common phenomenon. Many of us have lost our ability to breathe well.
What can be the consequences of shallow breathing?
There are several of them. First, it can affect digestion. When the diaphragm muscle (which is involved in breathing) is tight, it can cause discomfort in digestion or even slows it down.
It can also affect energy levels, mood, and stress. For example, when our breaths are short, it sends signals to our brains that we are under stress. The cortisol level is then increased, we feel even more tense and ... we breathe even less!
If you don't realize this, it can quickly become a vicious cycle.
In addition, having a deeper and more conscious breath leads us to be more connected to our body and to be more in the present moment. Doing some breathing techniques before bed can even help you sleep better. There are several benefits to pay more attention to your breathing!
So… How do you reconnect to your breathing?
It’s a gradual process, and several tricks can be put in place to achieve this goal eventually. So here are two tips that can easily fit into your routine.
The first tip: Put reminders on your cell phone to remember to breathe. It sounds simple, but it works. Enter two reminders on your cell phone at the start of your day: one in the morning and one in the afternoon. When they warn you, take a few minutes to stop what you are doing. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. First, notice how it is right now.
Then try to lengthen it by taking deeper breaths and exhalations. Do at least five cycles (inspiration-expiration) before continuing your activities. You may then already see benefits with the first tip. Also, don't hesitate to do it before bed. As mentioned above, this could help you sleep more deeply or fall asleep faster.
A second tip: For those who wish to go further and learn to breathe more fully; Do this exercise a few times a week or even once a day if you have time. Lie on the ground on your back. Place one hand on your stomach and one hand on your heart. Breathe normally, and watch your body move. Do you feel your belly inflated or rather your rib cage? Then try to breathe-in longer and feel that your belly is expanding as much as
possible. Even try to feel that the side of your belly is stretching too. Then quietly exhale through your mouth, deflating your belly. Do not pause between inspiration and expiration. Don't hold your breath and go fluidly. To begin, do this exercise for 3 to 5 minutes.
When you feel it is getting easier, try to make a wave with your breath. Start by inflating your belly in inspiration and then, in the same inspiration, inflate your rib cage. It is, then, the stomach that swells first, the bottom of the rib cage second, to finish at the top (closer to the throat). It is a more complicated technique to master, but it allows you to breathe with more amplitude.
It is by practicing every day, paying a little more attention to it that you will be able to benefit from a calmer and more anchored state in everyday life.