Saturday, April 16, 2005

Deep Breathing

Feeling of tiredness and exhaustion often takes over me from the early evenings onwards even if I am just puttering around the house. Stress is the main culprit coupled with fatigue or plain overwork. When it comes, I usually catch myself sort of holding my breath in my upper chest area and I am often doing shallow breathing. This causes me to expend unnecessary efforts to keep things in that upper area. It’s no surprise then that tiredness soon set in. Typically my lower ribcage will ache and pain in the whole of my torso will follow. I analysed what I was doing and thought that one of the things I definitely have to change is my breathing.

I called on an old friend who mentioned to me before the benefits of deep breathing. He extolled the benefits of it such as – stress reducer, tension reliever, and promotes good functioning of our internal organs through the proper oxygenation of our blood – among other things. The following deep breathing exercises he passed on to me. Undoubtedly it helped me a lot in relieving tiredness and stress even if I only do it once in a while in a day (well actually should be ideally done all the time). Once I start noticing the beginning of exhaustion I do deep breathing which more often than not starts to reverse the state of things at the time.

* How to do deep breathing:
  1. Sit up straight or stand with your spine straight. Relax.
  2. Inhale by starting to fill up your lower lungs. Your belly should expand. This is breathing with your diaphragm.
  3. Next fill up your upper lungs. You should see your chest area expand. DO NOT raise your shoulder while you do this. The chest will expand naturally (and your shoulders slightly rise) as you inhale. Fill up your lungs to the max that you can until you feel like bursting. These 2 stages of inhaling should be done in one continuous motion.
  4. Exhale air from the upper lungs slowly.
  5. Then expel air from the lower lungs completely by contracting abdominal muscles.

You can start doing the above in the count of 3: breathe in to the count of 3, pause to the count of 3, exhale to the count of 3, pause again to the count of 3. Once you get the hang of it increase count to 4 then to 5.

There are some very informative websites complete with illustrations on how to do this. Click here, here, and here for more info.

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