Hunched over a screen, possibly engrossed in other people's lives, have you ever noticed that you are hardly breathing? Bad breathing can really affect your life, from sleeping badly to feelings of anxiety and low mood. Relearning how to breathe will transform your life and strengthen your nervous system. It is so simple. Read through the following instructions and then have a go:
Breathe in deeply through the nostrils: first into the bottom of the lungs, letting your abdomen expand to its fullest extent; open your rib cage like a fan, and lift your chest last of all, without raising the shoulders. You will be amazed to find how much air your lungs can really take in.
Now try holding your breath for a few seconds (anything from 3 to 60 seconds). This may make you dizzy at first. Don’t worry, it only means that you are unused to taking in so much air.
Now breathe out. Do so completely, making the sound huh (silent hs) at the end to squeeze out the last particle of used air and making room for fresh air. Exhalation (breathing out) is every bit important as inhalation (breathing in). If you are not used to using your lungs, you might find your lungs, ribs and chest aching at first.
Whether you breathe out through the nostrils or mouth isn't too important. Nostrils would be good, but mouth is ok if you are more comfortable that way. And it will probably easier for you to end with the huh.
Breathing is fundamental to good health, yet many people seem to forget its importance. Fortunately it doesn't take long to return to good habits. If you feel you need a bit of space in your life to relearn, book an appointment at The Breathing Clinic. You can book a 40 minute session at http://www.carolinebrowntherapy.com.
Panic attacks can be immensely frightening because it appears that you have no control over them. You may even feel you're having a heart attack. And if you've suffered one, the thought of undergoing another can cause just as much anxiety; so from being a physical thing, it can actually morph into a mental one which can often be worse than the actual attack itself and cause you to avoid normal everyday situations you had no problem with previously.
Many sufferers just want their lives back. Probably the best way of doing this is by accepting the fact that you are having panic attacks and looking for ways of dealing with this and giving it less and less power over your life.
One question people ask is whether exercise is good for you. Exercise in moderation is always good for you but making sure that you are breathing well is even more important. From my personal experience of panic attacks, I have seen it with people who smoke heavily. A combination of this and a tendency to breathe quite shallowly means you're only taking in a fraction of the of air you need, and may contribute to the physical causes that bring on panic attacks.
So before you embark on an exercise spree, perhaps the most important thing you can do is relearn how to breathe using as much of your lungs as possible. You can find lots of information on the web and Youtube to help you with this. But owning up to your problem with other people can be very helpful. Which is why I would recommend coming along to the Breathing Break Club on Wed lunchtimes at 1pm. Sharing a problem gives it less power.
Caroline practises and teaches yoga in Glasgow Scotland and runs The Publishing Cupboard. She is the creator of the Nod off Series (where yoga meets grammar learning). If you want to get to grips with French, Spanish, Italian or Portuguese grammar, in a pain-free yogic way, visit www.nodoff.co.uk
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