How do you breathe?

How you breathe is a clue to how you feel. Changing your breathing can influence how you feel.

When you breathe with your whole torso, oxygen reaches twice as much blood as when you breathe only with your chest. Your breathing will be calmer and will also lower the pressure in your chest cavity, improve blood circulation and make it easier for the blood to flow back to the heart. It is also very important to thoroughly exhale. This prevents an increase in carbon dioxide in the blood, which can create anguish.

If you pull in your stomach and stick your chest out the air will only reach the upper part of your chest and your lungs will only be partially filled.

Are you breathing correctly?

How can you tell if your breathing is right or wrong? Start by counting how many breaths you take per minute. Sit down with a clock and count. If the sum is fourteen or more breaths per minute, you’re breathing too fast.

You can also test whether or not you use torso breathing. Sit comfortably on a chair, or lie down with your knees bent. Place one hand just below the navel, close your eyes, and breathe through your nose. If your hand moves, you are using the right technique when you breathe.

If it doesn't move, you can practice the proper technique by doing the following exercise ten times a day until you’ve learned it. Put one hand on your stomach. Inhale slowly while counting to ten. Feel how the hand on your stomach is pushed out. Exhale, count to ten again, and feel your stomach sink back down as the last air is pressed out of your lungs.

Another way to practice torso breathing is to empty your lungs from air completely and then let your body take care of replenishing your oxygen supply all by itself. You will notice that your first breath will be taken correctly.