Ever feel like you are trying to get a deep breath of air into your lungs but you can’t quite get that extra little bit. However, sometimes you may fluke it and that extra little bit seeps into your lungs and it’s the most satisfying feeling ever!?
Well, this is what could be going on:
If you experience a lot of anxiety, stress, or depression you are most likely a shallow breather.
Let me explain. Let’s say someone sneaks up behind you and screams in your ear and you become very stressed (acute stress). You’re going to breathe very rapidly. This rapid breathing will eventually go away when that stress wares off.
However, if you are under chronic stress or anxiety, day after day, your brain is triggering the release of adrenaline and cortisol to make you experience that fight or fight response which is going to make you breathe a little quicker and more shallow than what you should be doing. And the thing is, you won’t even really notice it because you will be so accustomed to breathing this way.
When you are constantly breathing shallowly you are training your lungs to require the incorrect amount of oxygen. So instead of breathing slow, long, deep breaths from your diaphragm, you are constantly breathing shallow, quick breaths. This is giving the wrong message to your lungs. So when you feel like you can’t get that extra bit of air that you need your lungs are not going to give it to you because it’s so used to breathing shallowly.
Good news. There is an easy fix!
When you feel like you can’t get enough air I want you to start concentrating on your breath. You can do this lying down, sitting up (back straight!), or walking. It’s a good idea to put your hand on your belly while you do this.
So what I want you to do is to start to breathe very slowly and deeply. When you breathe I want you to breathe from your diaphragm (not your chest). When you breathe in your belly should expand (not your chest) and when you breathe out your belly should decrease (not your chest).
Do this anywhere from 20 – 50 times. This will only take a few minutes. What you are doing is re-training your lungs to require the correct amount of oxygen. Once you finish this exercise try to breathe and get that extra bit of air that you require and most times you will get it instantly.
You may again start to experience not being able to get that extra bit of air into your lungs. This means that you are feeling too much stress and anxiety. Go back to this breathing exercise over and over again until you finally get your breathing back on track!
Stick with it. It will work wonders!