Breathing In & Out: The Secret to Living

Seems obvious, right? Although we all breathe without thinking every day, it is essential to, on occasion, become aware of our breathing. After all, how we breathe is vital to our overall health and ability to think.

Let’s discuss shallow breathing. This is a kind of breathing which allows only a minimum amount of air into the lungs – you can think of it as holding back your ‘full’ breath. Consider, then, that 20% of the air you breathe goes to your brain, while your brain is weighs only about one kilo. When you breathe shallowly, it reduces the amount of oxygen entering the body, which can greatly affect the way the body and brain function. Conditions related to shallow breathing include anxiety disorders, asthma, pneumonia, hyperventilation, and shock.

Now, the best way to avoid shallow breathing is to better understand your mind and how you handle stress. And the secret to breathing more fully is to practice breathe awareness. There are several ways to do this, but here we’ll outline two simple methods you can incorporate into your everyday life.

The first method I call dual focus. For example, if you find yourself studying, then, with good posture, practice breathing in and out deeply and slowly. Continue doing this while completing your homework. Think of it like playing the piano with both hands: one hand focuses on the high notes (i.e. your homework), while the other hand focuses on the bass notes (i.e. your breathing).

The second way to practice breathe awareness is to pause between places. For example, say you are about to get a snack. You have moved from your desk to the kitchen. While entering into the kitchen, you pause and spend a minute breathing in and out deeply. This will not only reinvigorate your body, it will also allow your mind to focus more deeply on the present moment.

I encourage you to implement these small practices, and be mindful of how they affect your day-to-day life. Happy breathing!

Cheryl Millett
Holistic Nutritionist & Practitioner – Mind & Body
Parent of OVS student
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