Breathing is such a natural thing for us that we barely realise we are doing it.
But as soon as we bring our attention to our breath, somehow we start breathing
differently. Infact, this is the reason why doctors monitor your breathing while
making it look like they are checking your pulse, so you don’t change your
We take up to 17,000 breaths a day and not every breath is the same.
How we breathe impacts how we feel, how our body reacts and our long-term
A simple exercise will help you understand what we are talking about.
What you need to do is just try to keep your breathing shallow and take a series of
short sharp breaths, breathing in and out intensely for a few seconds.
It’s not easy, is it?
As you’re doing it, you can feel the anxiety rising as your body gasps to take in
Now, take it slow.
Draw in a long, deep breath filling your lungs for a few seconds. Hold it in your
lungs for another few seconds and then breathe out slowly. Do this, a couple of
times slowly and deeply.
Do you feel any different? Has anxiety dropped?
If yes, then you can imagine that if just a few changes to your breathing can make
this much impact on how you feel, what impact your breathing must have after
17,000 breaths over the course of the day.
Breathing exercises have long been an important part of many practices, such as
meditation and yoga.
Long before we even considered breathing and mindfulness as an aspect of health
and wellbeing, generations of people knew the benefits of harnessing the breath to
calm the body and mind.
When we breathe, our diaphragm contracts and moves forward, increasing the
space in our chest cavity to allow our lungs to expand into it. The lungs are filled
with air inhaled via your mouth and nose, which is then pushed into the alveoli and
out to the blood.
During exhalation, the alveoli absorb carbon dioxide from the blood and the
diaphragm moves down which squeezes the lungs and pushes air out, along with
the waste carbon dioxide which passes through your nose and mouth.
Placing a focus on the way you’re breathing can help in relieving stress, aiding
relaxation and increasing your overall sense of wellbeing. All thanks to the way
oxygen is released into the body.
You can optimise those feel-good responses by practising breathing exercises. You
can learn more about the best ways to breathe at different points during the day by
reading Breathe Well by Aimee Hartley.
Or you can choose to download one of the many apps which guide users through
breathing exercises appropriate to their requirements
Another way to increase the flow of oxygen around the body is offered by gO2
therapy. Just a few puffs of it can boost your energy levels, improve mental acuity
and reinvigorate your body.