Breathing Like A Baby.

Imagine a baby sleeping peacefully in a cot.

So relaxed, warm and comfortable.

As the baby breathes you notice its stomach rises and falls in a gentle regular, rhythm.

This is how we are born to breathe, it’s not something we learn, our brains already have the information and our sub-conscious takes care of everything. Luckily, we don’t normally have to think about our breathing, it just happens automatically, allowing us to get on with other things.

Our lives are busy, we grow, change, go to school, find jobs, raise families and in amongst all of that we sometimes forget how to breathe like a baby.

Often as teenagers our breathing changes, we stop using our stomach muscles to fill our lungs preferring to use our chest muscles instead. This tends to result in faster, shallower breathing.

Unfortunately, this is not the best or most efficient way to breathe and for better health, it is a good idea to take a little time and relearn what you knew instinctively as a new born.

The following exercise has many health benefits and is particularly effective if you are suffering with anxiety. Controlling your breathing gives you the technique you need to combat unwanted panicky feelings. It is very simple, easy and natural and the more you practise it, the easier and more automatic it becomes.

Find a quiet place where you can concentrate.

Start by placing one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach between your navel and your rib cage.

Relax (say the word to yourself) and notice your breathing, just concentrate on your breathing. Which muscles are you using to inhale and exhale?

Exhale with a sigh…

Then breathing through your nose, inhale so your stomach inflates and your chest stays still….

Exhale using your stomach muscles….

Continue to practise breathing in this way, noticing your stomach rising and falling, while your chest stays still…just like a baby’s.

Once you have mastered this, you can then incorporate another technique.

The technique is called 7/11 breathing and is an incredibly simple but effective way of controlling anxiety. The idea is that your out-breath is longer than your in-breath.

You inhale to the count of 7 and exhale to the count of 11. So you are breathing out more slowly than you breathe in and this has a physiological effect on your body. You naturally begin to relax and feel in control once again. Unwanted anxious feelings simply, subside and disappear.

This exercise may be a little tricky at first, so just rest in between with normal breathing if necessary; the more you practise the easier it becomes. You can also adjust it to suit yourself, as long as the golden rule of a longer out-breath remains intact. So 7/11 breathing can become 4/6 or whatever you choose.

Exercises like this one give you the ability to cope and put you back in control.

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