We all breath automatically and unconsciously from the day that we are born. We naturally breath in oxygen and breath out carbon dioxide (CO2) in a steady fashion that keeps our oxygen and CO2 levels in our blood balanced .
However, there are other sorts of breathing that most of us have experienced. Some of these forms of breathing are helpful, some are scary and others restorative.
When we exercise our breathing tends to be quicker and we take in more oxygen to support out bodies to function with more speed and strength. As a result of our additional physical energy we expel an increased amount of CO2, but our blood gas levels remains stable.
When we panic or are anxious our breathing becomes quicker, shallower, is located higher in our chests and we are more aware of the affect that our breathing is having on our bodies and emotions. As we panic we take in more oxygen and expel less C02 as we are not using the additional oxygen to feed physical activity. Our panic breathing causes our blood gas levels to become unbalanced and as a result we can feel woozy, scared, faint and disassociated.
To combat the negative effects of panic breathing it is important to know how to practice the conscious technique of relaxed breathing. Relaxed breathing is a great way to balance out your oxygen and CO2 levels in your blood and make you feel more in control and much calmer. To relax breath we need to learn how to breath from our stomachs, so instead of just seeing your chest rise when you breath you will also see your stomach rising and falling with each breath. Place your hand on your stomach to feel when you have mastered breathing from this area. The best way to practice relaxed breathing is by sitting down in a quite area, closing your eyes and breathing in through your nose to the count of 4 and then waiting a couple of seconds before you breath out of your mouth also to the count of 4. Practice keeping your breathing at a steady pace and then start slowing your breathing down gradually to a comfortable level.
Practice makes perfect, don’t give up as we all have to learn and practice how to become a conscious relaxed breather.