July 24, 2009 Leave a comment
Sometimes the smallest things can have the largest effects. Learning a simple task like controlling your breath will make a world of difference on your level of stress, anxiety, pain, and overall health. Think about it, whenever we become nervous, tense, or are experiencing a pain attack, we hyperventilate. Our breathing patterns become deep and fast, the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide we have gets out of balance. This pattern not only adds to our anxiety level, but if this happens often, it will take its toll on our bodies. Also during times of hyperventilation, our hands and feet could tingle, the blood flow to our brain is restricted, and our airway passages could inflame, all because of the low levels of carbon dioxide. Like we really need any more added stress on our bodies in the first place.
Learning to control your breath will not only help Fibro patients, but it can others as well.
Breath control therapy can help people with problems such as:
* Chronic and acute pain
* Depression and low self esteem
* Unhealthy relationships
* Stress and anxiety
* Respiratory issues
* Recovering trauma patients
* High blood pressure
* Eating disorders
* Drug and alcohol recovery
* Runners and other athletes
Benefits of learning to control your breathing include:
* Healthier body
* Increased energy levels
* Stress and anxiety reduction
* Positive body image
* Controlling your anger and irritability
* Better sense of spiritual awareness
* Overall better sense of well-being
Breathing, sounds simple right? Well, it takes a bit of exercise to get the hang of it, especially when you are in pain or stressed. To learn how to control your breathing, no matter how you feel, is a real skill.
Here’s a few different ways to practice controlling your breathing:
Cool air in- Warm air out
• Practice when you most relaxed (I usually do it before I go to sleep at night).
• Lie down or sit in a comfortable position, if you can.
(a knotted yoga position is not necessary)
• Close your eyes
• Take a slow and deep breath in through your nose.
• Concentrate on the cool air coming in through your nostrils.
• Hold your breathe a few seconds.
• Breathe out slowly, evenly, and quietly through your nose.
Pay attention how warm the air is as it exits your nose.
• Do this for a few moments until all your cares wash away- or for me, until I fall asleep.
Shallow breathing for long periods of time causes your chest and shoulders to tighten up. When you breathe really shallow, you are breathing from your upper chest and not from your diaphragm.
Here is another way to practice controlling your breath, which I learned from when I sang:
• Lay down, with a pillow under your neck for support.
• Place one hand flat on your chest.
• Place one hand flat on your abdomen. (right bellow your rib cage)
• As you breathe, watch the movement of your hands.
• If your chest hand is moving, you are breathing shallow. As you take in your next breath, concentrate on making the hand on your belly move.
• Make sure to take slow deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
• Note: When I was singing, I used to place books on my abdomen (right on my diaphragm) instead of my hand. However, I would not recommend it as a relaxation technique.
Here’s a meditation YouTube relaxation to listen to while you practice your new breathing techniques:
Simple Relaxation, a Guided Meditation by Quiet Mind Cafe