Breathe: Your Life Depends On It

In a quiz I give to individual clients and companies I ask questions like:

  1. How often do you notice the quality of your breathing?
  2. Are you aware if it’s shallow, deep, relaxed, short or choppy?
  3. How often do you consciously pause from what you are doing to take a few deep, full, relaxing breaths?

The reason I ask these questions is because most people unfortunately do not understand how important it is to be aware of your breathing pattern and how that impacts your health, mood, communications, energy and productivity. Here’s why.

The average person reaches peak respiratory function and lung capacity in their mid 20's. Then they begin to lose respiratory capacity: between 9 and 25% for every decade of life! So, unless you are doing something to maintain or improve your breathing capacity, it will decline, and with it, your general health, and life expectancy, The respiratory system should be responsible for eliminating 70% of your metabolic waste. The remainder should be eliminated through defecation 3%, urination 8%, and perspiration 19%.

Most people have unhealthy breathing habits. They hold their breath or breathe high in the chest or in a shallow, irregular manner. These patterns have been unconsciously adopted, accidentally formed, or emotionally impressed. Certain "typical" breathing patterns actually trigger physiological and psychological stress and anxiety reactions!

Dr. Andrew Weil says, “ Improper breathing is the cause of most illnesses today”

Here’s a tip. When you breathe in your upper chest you activate your Sympathetic Nervous System or fight or flight response, you speed up your heart rate, slow your digestion and stress organs.

When you breathe in your lower chest towards your abdomen, you activate your Parasympathetic Nervous System and relax your heart rate, and help your digestion, and organs.

Start breathing more slowly and deeper, and let your belly fill up like a beach ball on the inhale, then let it go on the exhale, and  enjoy the many benefits of aware, healthy breathing.