Monday, May 30, 2011

Breathing for Parents

You know how, sometimes, you discover something and it makes your life exponentially better - so much so that you feel like telling everyone you know? Like PVR. Or wet wipes. Or Skype. Or robots that make breakfast. (I will totally get one of those as soon as someone invents one.)

My "thing" is breathing. Or to be more specific, deep breathing. When I was studying to become a therapist I learned a technique called diaphragmatic breathing. It involves expanding your diaphragm (the muscle located underneath the lungs) as fully as possible, drawing air deep into the lungs, and then exhaling to push all the air out again.

After listening to my instructor harp on endlessly about the benefits of diaphragmatic breathing (relieves tension, improves circulation, brings more oxygen and nutrients to the organs), I started practicing it myself about a year ago and have really noticed the difference it has made to me. Now, whenever I'm feeling stressed out, nervous, or like I'm about to snap, I use the technique to bring myself back down to some level of calm.


There are three good things about learning to breathe deeply.

1. it's free
2. you can do it anywhere
3. the result is instant and effective

Trust me.

And try it for yourself.

What you do is this: lie on your back, place one hand on your chest and one hand on your upper stomach. Take a deep breath in and as you do so, raise your stomach out as far as you can. Then exhale - a long, deep breath, pushing every last bit of air out of your lungs. The hand on your stomach should move while the hand on your chest should stay still. 


Try it once a day for five minutes (or ten, if you can manage it).

And then come back and tell me how awesome you feel.
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5 comments:

Metropolitan Mum said...

Thank you for this post. It's funny how when you are pregnant everybody bothers you about breathing the right way - and when there's crisis (i.e. when there are actual kids out there) nobody tells you what to do. Thank you. Must lie down and breathe now.

Lizbeth said...

It works!! And better yet just doing 5 quickies brings my heart rate down. Thank you.

blueviolet said...

They forced us to learn that in choir when I was in elementary school, so I do use that, and I actually love it!

Vaporizer said...

Take a deep breath in and as you do so, raise your stomach out as far as you can. Then exhale - a long, deep breath, pushing every last bit of air out of your lungs. The hand on your stomach should move while the hand on your chest should stay still.

Mwa said...

I like focusing on my breathing for a bit when I'm stressed - just "being with myself" for a second. I suppose it doesn't matter how you do it, it does work wonders.