How often do you pay attention to the way you breathe?
It’s understandable that most people seldom consider their breath and how bad breathing habits may be affecting their health.
After all, the process we repeat an average of 20,000 times per day seems to be an automatic one that doesn’t necessarily require any conscious intervention.
While you can usually leave your body to handle your breathing for you, there’s good reason to be more mindful of it.
For starters, not breathing correctly can make you sick. It can deprive your lungs of oxygen, leaving you prone to illness and stress.
There are many other aspects of wellbeing that are negatively affected, and we’ll look into them below.
Why We Have Bad Breathing Habits?
Now more than ever, we are prone to certain behaviors that don’t lend well to breathing properly.
This includes sitting at desks for extended periods and being exposed to continual states of anxiety and pressure.
We have gotten used to taking short, shallow breaths that mirror the stress inducing effects of hyperventilation.
Over time, these symptoms can accumulate and create lasting tension, which may contribute to poor posture and higher risk of developing respiratory conditions such as asthma.
How Bad Breathing Affects Your Wellbeing:
In a study carried out at Northwestern University, researchers found that breathing and cognitive function are connected.
By only breathing from the top part of your lungs, the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide are disrupted, and thinking is impaired.
Blood rate and Cortisol
Shallow breathing also increases blood pressure and heart rate, ramping up cortisol production. All of it induces your stress levels.
Another risk of bad breathing habits is that they reduce the use of respiratory muscles. This lowers your endurance and makes you feel out of breath sooner.
Finally, there’s the matter of sleep. If you read our articles you know that we are big ambassadors of quality sleep. We often rant about the negative effects of not getting enough sleep.
Taking fewer deep breaths can lead to difficulties with sleep, along with increased headaches and back pain as a result of less diaphragm engagement.
The negative effects of bad breathing habits reach far and wide when it comes to your wellbeing. So, what should you be doing instead? Let’s take a look at how you can reduce shallow breathing.
How to Breathe Effectively:
An important first step is to stay mindful and recognize bad breathing habits.
You can try the following simple exercise to establish the difference between deep and shallow breathing:
1. Lie on the floor with your hands on your stomach.
2. Take note of whether your chest or diaphragm rises when you breathe.
3. Focus on breathing into the lower part of your torso.
4. Take long and slow breaths through your nose.
As the last step suggests, you shouldn’t be breathing through your mouth, an increasingly common habit with endless negative effects.
In a study published by NeuroReport, it was found that breathing through the mouth can increase sleep apnea, raise blood pressure and put you at risk of harmful heart problems.
That said, putting an end to mouth breathing can be challenging, especially when it happens in your sleep.
You can use a solution such as mouth tape to keep your lips from coming apart when you’re in bed.
Head to the following link to have all your questions answered about mouth tape and why it’s important to breathe through your nose.
What You Should Remember?
Being aware of the benefits of proper breathing habits can help you stick to them.
Among them are reduced stress, improved concentration and cognition, regular heart rate and improved blood circulation. Your endurance will also be higher, along with your pain tolerance.
If turned into a regular habit, deep breathing can be life changing.
Be sure to practice each day and soon enough, you’ll feel the benefits.