If you’ve spent some time in delivery rooms… and I’ve certainly put in some hours… you know the number-one thing doctors tell women in labour.
That’s because we all know that breathing is essential to helping your body manage life’s most stressful situations.
Now that may seem like common sense, and most of the time we don’t need to remind ourselves to breathe.
But it turns out that when we’re dealing with lots of stress and anxiety, our respiratory system can go haywire. And that’s bad for your health and for stress management.
According to a recent article from Psychology Today, a survival instinct carried down from our ancestors may be stopping us from breathing in stressful situations.
You see, not breathing was key to our ancestors’ survival when they were out on the hunt. They HAD to stop breathing sometimes, or they’d scare off their family dinner.
Luckily, we don’t face the same challenges today. But, sure enough, during stress, many of us still slow our breathing to a crawl.
That can actually impair decision-making and cause your body to feel even more stressed.
A good, deep breath can help clear your body of toxins by helping your lymphatic fluid move around and flush cellular “waste” out. In other words, you’re better preparing your body to calm down and handle a difficult situation.
Breathing techniques used in meditation and yoga can also help reduce stress and bring a sense of peace and calm.
You might not think you need to “learn” how to breathe – since it’s something our bodies seem to do automatically on its own – but there are ways to make your breathing BETTER.
Whenever you’re feeling stressed or anxious, take a moment to remind yourself to breathe. Instead of trying to fill your chest with air, imagine filling your belly as you breathe in. Experts call this “diaphragmatic breathing,” but that’s just a fancy way of describing how to move your abdominal muscles to increase your lung capacity.
That’s how opera singers can hold those high notes for such a long time!
If you need a little help figuring out the “right” way to breathe, there are lots of online videos on diaphragmatic breathing that can guide you through the process.
Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
This Is Why Climbing Stairs Leaves You Breathless, psychologytoday.com/blog/beastly-behavior/201605/is-why-climbing-stairs-leaves-you-breathless
Holding your breath may be bad for your brain, timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news/Holding-breath-may-be-bad-for-your-brain/articleshow/4859093.cms