Did you know that how you breathe has a direct affect on how you feel? When the breath is short, shallow chest breathing, it tends to give rise to a sense of agitation, even anxiety. On the other hand, deep, slow, smooth and diaphragmatic breathing induces relaxation and feelings of wellbeing.
But don’t take my word for it. Try it.
Start by noticing how you’re breathing at this moment. Simply notice how it is flowing, whether you’re breathing with your chest or belly; whether the breath is jerky or smooth; and whether the breaths are short or long. At this point, you’re taking a baseline observation as to how you’re breathing.
Once that’s done, purposely change your breath to be short, shallow and from the chest for about 30 seconds. Notice how it feels to breathe this way. After 30 seconds, let your breath return to normal and notice if you feel any different than you did during the previous baseline observation. If you feel different, how do you feel different? Take note.
Having done that, now again change your breath to be deep, long, and from the belly, so that the belly contracts on exhalation and expands on inhalation. Do this for 30 seconds noticing how you feel doing it.
After 30 seconds, once again let your breath return to normal and notice how you feel in comparison to how you felt during the baseline observation period and also how you felt after you took the short, shallow breaths.
Perhaps make a note of your findings.
Which type of breath led to feeling better?
Please feel free to share your findings in comments to this blog post.