A word from Deb

Don’t forget to breathe

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Do you ever forget to breathe? I appreciate that may sound completely ridiculous because if you did you wouldn’t be reading this column right now. I mean really breathe the way we are meant to.  Where you take a long, deep breath into the belly, so deep your tummy pokes out, lungs at full capacity and then letting it out slowly, relaxing the body as you go. Don’t do that one? Well I forget too because it’s not something that comes naturally to us.

The more we stress living our lives at warp speed, the more we forget to do the simple things that can actually make a huge difference to our wellbeing. Yet breathing properly is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves.

You can tell the difference when you do. Last week I was getting some physio on my neck and just before the therapist began working on me he could tell I was only breathing in the top part of my body and took me through some deep breaths that immediately had a relaxing effect, and it made his job that much easier. When we are stressed, on the run, and thinking a thousand thoughts we breathe mostly into the top part of our lungs, surviving on short shallow breaths and not into the diaphragm where the real work is done.

While you’re sitting here reading this, just humour me for a minute or two, and take in a few slow, long deep breaths. Let it out slowly and feel with the exit of the breath how your body, neck and shoulders start to relax. Perhaps next time you’re about to enter an important meeting, give a presentation or are nervous about an appointment, do the same thing to help centre yourself.

If you haven’t yet taken that breath I asked you to, here’s a few facts to get you thinking …

Breathing detoxifies and releases toxins. Your body is designed to release 70% of its toxins through breathing. When you exhale air you release carbon dioxide that has been passed through from your bloodstream into your lungs. Carbon dioxide is a natural waste of your body’s metabolism.

 Breathing releases tension. Think how your body feels when you are tense, angry, scared or stressed. It feels constricted. Your muscles get tight and your breathing becomes shallow. Deep slow breaths will ease the tension.

 Breathing relaxes the mind/body and brings clarity. Notice any places in the body that are tight? Focus on the area and breathe into them slowly, deeply and purposefully.

 Breathing relieves emotional problems. Breathing will help clear uneasy feelings and tension out of your body. As you relax your body, you’ll find that proper breathing brings clarity and vision.

Breathing relieves pain. Ever notice what happens to your breathing when you anticipate pain? You hold your breath. Yet studies show that breathing into and through your pain helps to ease it and finds relief.

 Breathing increases digestion and assimilation of food. I love this one. When the digestive organs such as the stomach receive more oxygen, they operate more efficiently. So if you have enjoyed Luke Mangan’s inflight meal, take a few deep breaths and relax knowing that your body is working away efficiently.

If all else fails, there are a few apps out there with the sole purpose of helping you breathe properly. One of my favourites is ‘Calming Breath’ where you can even select how long you want the breaths to be. The thing about taking a good deep breath is it is hugely beneficial for your health, so may your next breath be a good one!

This article originally appeared in Virgin Voyeur Magazine.

Learn how to breathe with Lyndall Mitchell

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Deborah Hutton

Deborah Hutton is the publisher of Balance by Deborah Hutton. She is passionate about helping woman to define their own recipe for balance

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