Deep Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing can improve physical health and cognitive wellbeing by releasing bodily tension. Deep breathing techniques are easily learned and convenient to apply. They can be developed and improved over time.
In normal day to day life our breathing is shallow. During stressful or anxiety-provoking situations, breathing becomes even more shallow, reducing oxygen intake and further exacerbating stress levels.
“Take a Deep Breath”
You are likely to have heard the phrase ‘Take a deep breath’ being used on somebody who has worked themselves into a state of anxiety. Potentially they might be flustered, flushed or incoherent.
Taking a few deep breaths allows us to take a moment. No talking, no rushing about. By standing still and upright, we open our diaphragm and allow ourselves to draw in larger amounts of air.
Slowly inhale until your lungs reach maximum capacity and hold for a few seconds. Then exhale slowly and repeat.
You’ll find that after a few breaths you are able to pull in even more air and hold for slightly longer. If you even see free divers preparing for a long dive you’ll notice they do exactly this, by drawing in air through long, slow breaths they are expanding their lung capacity.
Watch for Light Headedness
Be aware that this can also make you light-headed. If this happens you should sit down.
The reason you can become light-headed during deep breathing is because you are breathing out carbon dioxide at a faster rate than your lungs can produce it. This causes a chemical change in the blood which triggers the light-headedness. It is temporary but you should breathe more shallowly until it passes.
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