I find myself actually holding my breath in a tense moment, and shallow breathing when stressed. Here's an article I came across to help work on that problem.
(NaturalNews) Have you ever tried slowing down your breath? What is the fewest number of breaths that you can take in one minute? When you breathe deeply and slowly, can you feel your mind relaxing? You may be surprised to discover many benefits for your body and mind from breathing slowly. It may in fact be one of the most important things you can do.
Lower Blood Pressure
While increasing physical activity, maintaining balanced weight, and eating a diet high in fruit and vegetables and light on the salt are important ways to lower blood pressure naturally, taking time to breathe slowly and consciously is also being shown to have a significantly positive effect.
Research at the National Institutes of Health suggests that breathing slowly for a few minutes a day is enough to help people lower blood pressure naturally without pills or supplements. In fact, scientists believe that how we breathe may hold a key to how the body regulates blood pressure.
How to Relieve Stress
There are a number of reasons why this works. First, if you have tried slowing down your breathing, you have probably noticed that it slows down your mind. People have been using breathing techniques for centuries as one of the most powerful stress relievers to calm the body and mind. Yoga, meditation, and chi gong are based around this principal.
Break Down Salt
Researchers claim that in addition to deep relaxation, breathing slowly breaks down the salt that we eat.
Dr. David Anderson, who heads research into how to lower blood pressure with behavior at the NIH's National Institute on Aging, is working to demonstrate this with the help of a special gadget that trains volunteers with high blood pressure to slow-breathe. His studies are revealing a connection between high blood pressure, stress and diet.
"If you sit there under-breathing all day (as most people do) and you have a high salt intake, your kidneys may be less effective at getting rid of that salt than if you're out hiking in the woods," said Anderson.
Why is balanced Blood Pressure essential to our health?
People that have high blood pressure have an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, kidney damage, blindness and dementia. It is often called the silent killer, because patients may notice no symptoms until it already has done serious damage.
Improve Circulation with Slow Breathing
Many people have cold hands and cold feet, even in the summer. This condition is uncomfortable, is a sign of bad circulation. Circulation is what nourishes our organs and our bodies with oxygen and nutrients. It is absolutely essential for optimum health. It can be completely restored by slow breathing!
Poor circulation is related to high blood pressure and will lower the body's immunity. When the body cannot pump blood through the arteries, the pressure builds up. When blood does not flow well, white blood cells cannot go where they are needed to defend the body against invaders. The white blood cells are core to the immune system, and they defend against viruses, cancer cells, infections, and other illnesses.
If you need more help with slow breathing, just find a good yoga class. It is incredibly simple and can transform your health.
__________________ "Don't regret growing older, it's a privilege denied to many"
One thing that I learned not too long ago is that people should allow air to push their tummy out when inhaling.
Thanks Cookie! I heard that too! Here's an article with more detailed info:
The breath is one of the most important aspects of Yoga. Breathing regulates your state of mind, your emotions, your concentration, as well as a variety of other things.
Breathing alsoaffects our daily emotional state, concentration, stress level, and believe it or not, our sleeping patterns. Learning to breathe the right way will help us to be healthier, calmer and give us the ability to handle stressful life situations. Plus it makes you feel better!!!
The correct form of breathing is to push the abdomen out while inhaling, and let it come back in naturally while exhaling. HOW TO BREATHE PROPERLY
The diaphragm is the membrane that separates the lungs from the stomach. When we breathe in, our lungs fill up with air pushing the diaphragm down, which in turn makes the abdomen protrude out. During exhalation, the abdomen retreats in automatically.
To be sure you breathe correctly, you must divide the breath into three parts; lower abdomen, middle abdomen, and chest.
When inhaling, first fill up the lower abdomen with air, then the middle abdomen, and last the chest. When exhaling, the air in the chest goes out first, then the air in the middle abdomen, and lastly the air in the lower abdomen. You must physically push the abdomen out when inhaling, and in when exhaling. However, when done correctly, there is no need to pull the abdomen in because it is done effortlessly.
You can compare inhalation to filling up a glass of water. The first thing to be filled up is the bottom of the glass (lower abdomen), then the center part of the glass (the middle abdomen), and finally the top of the glass (chest). Likewise, exhaling can be compared to drinking the glass of water. First we drink the water in the top (chest), and second, the middle part of the glass (the middle abdomen), and last the water in the bottom (lower abdomen).
For most people, due to society pressures, breathing is done exactly opposite of how it should be. Studies show us that around 40% of people breathe incorrectly. Breathing incorrectly has definite negative consequences in that you could develop future illnesses. If you can consciously breathe the right way by forcing the abdomen out during inhalation your body will soon pick up this rhythm.
The human brain has many functions and one of them is to follow the breath. If you are able to breathe anywhere from 1 to 4 times per minute , you will experience what is called the meditative state. Breathing is not about just holding the breath in or out, itís about breathing long and deeply. Do this by breathing very slowly, using the full capacity of your lungs and completely exhaling.
The best way to breath properly is to build up little by little. The lung's capacity starts to expand, and as a consequence your mind becomes calmer, more balanced, and you will be able to concentrate more fully and make better decisions.
The magic of breathing starts when you master exhaling. It seems that during the inhalation, the mind is calmer and one can hold the breath longer without experiencing any discomfort. During exhalation there is a natural urge to inhale immediately after exhalation. When this natural tendency calms down you will be able to reach a higher level of consciousness.
Deep breathing is one of the single most important habits you can develop to improve and maintain health. You've been breathing all your life but seldom do we take the time to cultivate good breathing habits.
Your main focus with deep breathing is getting fresh air into your lungs. As your heart pumps blood, the first place it goes is into your lungs to become oxygenated. After your lungs, your blood transports oxygen throughout your body. This helps to maintain healthy pH (acidity/alkalinity) and provides critical oxygen to all your organs and bodily tissues.
Deep breathing has a multitude of beneficial effects. One of the most immediate benefits is stress reduction. Even 10 long, slow, deep breaths can stop an anxiety attack. Two or three minutes of deep breathing can relieve the stress of rush hour traffic, a hectic day of work, or holiday shopping.
Additional benefits are clearer thinking (oxygen to the brain), balanced blood pressure, and increased detoxification. Your lungs play a very important role in overall health and everything about deep breathing is lung friendly.
One great habit is to take 10 long, slow, deep breaths before going into grocery or department stores. After you are done shopping and get back into your car, gently close your eyes and visualize walking in a forest, gazing at the ocean, or anything else you find relaxing. While visualizing, take a few deep breaths. If other thoughts come, acknowledge them and bring your attention back to your breathing. You'll feel an amazing sense of peace and harmony within minutes.
Another simple way to improve breathing habits is to take a few deep breaths at trigger points throughout your day: When you first wake up in the morning, take 10 long, slow, deep breaths. Repeat at bedtime, after meals, and before going to bed. Additionally, any time during your day you feel stress or anxiety, take a few seconds to breathe deeply. Breathing deeply at each of these trigger points will cultivate healthy breathing habits throughout your day.
When deep breathing, inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. This provides more effective utilization of the oxygen. The key is breathe long, slow, and deep. Inhale fully and exhale completely.
I hope this information helps you in your day to day living. Remember, the best way to be happy is to be healthy. Enjoy.
It's amazing that people all over the world feel that they have to resort to all sorts of things like drugs, alcohol - you name it - to reduce stress and improve health. But deep breathing on a regular basis is truly an instant relaxation exercise and as outlined above, has numerous health benefits!
Think about it - the body can survive for a little while without food, maybe a couple of days without water, and how long without oxygen? Not too long! So that should give us a clue about how important breathing is to our health.
I've found that closing my eyes and putting my attention on relaxing my shoulders, back and torso muscles (which are usually tight from working at the computer a lot) and then taking even one slow, deep breath through my nose is deliciously relaxing and rejuvenating. But it feels so good that I usually take more than one
Most people seem to think that when stressed they breathe less... but have you guys heard of Buteyko .. its like a russian style of breathing exercises which helps asthma sufferers and other breathing disorders like hyperventilation.. they believe most people breathe too much, and as a result of stress people suck in more air which off balances the levels of oxygen and CO2 in your blood..
What do you guys think of this? Most people reccomend deep breathing. etc.. essentially breathing in more oxygen..
but what heppens if you intentionally breathe too much.. you hyperventilate and will actually pass out in a short period of time.. this is because not enough oxygen is getting to your brain or other tissues even though you are taking in lots of air?.. maybe were all doing this at a low level.. depriving our bodies of oxygen.. breathing more isnt always better.