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Best Breathing Practice

When we become aware of our breathing, it helps us to calm the body and the mind.
The Power of Breathing

From the moment we are born until the moment we die, we breathe. Learning to breathe in a more healthy way is one of the main keys to managing the body's response to stress.

Difficulty Breathing

Breathing for some people becomes difficult when they are anxious. They start to breathe faster and faster, then more and more shallowly, and end up hyperventilating. Hyperventilation is not getting enough oxygen and blowing off too much carbon dioxide. This brings on a feeling of light-headedness, often accompanied by a feeling of pressure in the chest. When you feel like you are not getting in enough air, an overwhelming wave of panic or fear can arise. When this occurs, it makes it that much harder to get control of your breathing.

Best Breathing Practice

The best way to practice breathing properly is to practice diaphragmatic breathing, or abdominal breathing.

The diaphragm is a large, umbrella-shaped sheet of muscle that is attached all around the lower edge of the rib cage. It separates the contents of the chest from the contents of the abdomen. When it contracts, it tightens and pulls downward. This movement increases the volume of the chest cavity. This increased volume in the chest produces a decrease in the air pressure in the lungs.

Because of the decreased pressure inside the lungs, air from outside the body, which is at higher pressure, flows into the lungs to equalize the pressure. After the diaphragm contracts, it goes through a relaxation period. As this happens, the muscle gets looser and returns to its original position higher up in the chest, thereby decreasing the volume in the chest cavity. This increases the pressure in the chest, which forces the air in the lungs out through the nose and mouth.

In diaphragmatic breathing, the idea is to relax your abdomen. If you are not accustomed to doing this, you may find your effort at this frustrating, but continue on and practice.

When we become aware of our breathing, it helps us to calm the body and the mind.

How to Practice Breathing

The way to practice breathing is to use a pattern of breathing where you inhale to a count of 6 and breathe out to a count of 8. You can do this in the morning when you wake up, doing a round of ten inhalations and exhalations, in the middle of the day, and at the end of the day. You can also do this kind of breathing while sitting at traffic lights or standing in line. This insures that you will be able to manage your body's physiological state



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