No, you don’t have to buy one of those crazy faced balls. In fact, you don’t have to buy anything.
You can destress in 10 seconds by using someting you already have, your lungs.
If you’ve caught on, you know I’m talking about breathing.
But I will need to explain because not all breathing is created
For those of you who have practiced yoga, you’ll know that there
are many ways of breathing. I want to focus on two – they
are fundamentally different in their effect on your physiology.
The first is common, but unnatural to stay in for long periods of
time, which is troubling because that is the type many people find
themselves in. It is called chest breathing, and
to no surprise, it is performed by breathing into your chest. It is
characterized by short or shallow breaths performed by the intercostal muscles
(tiny muscles in between the ribs) that cause the chest to rise. This
is the fastest way to breathe, the way you would want to breathe if you
were under attack (stress). This type of breathing triggers the
sympathetic nervous system, what is crucial in fight or flight.
However, humans are only designed to be in a stressful state for short periods
– really, only long enough to get out of the stressful
situation (change our environment to a more hospitable one). Now we
find ourselves in chronic stress with deadlines to meet, families to run,
children to constantly monitor, and very little community support or movement
to deal with that stress.
That is why I want to talk to you about diaphragmatic breathing.
This is a completely different way to get oxygen to your cells from a
physiological standpoint. This breathing is slow and deep,
and it causes your belly to push out, rather than your chest to rise up.
It is done by a muscular umbrella at the bottom of your ribcage that pulls air
in and gently massages your internal organs in a rhythmic way. This is
the way children breathe. This is the way you are supposed to
breathe most of the time. This triggers the parasympathetic
nervous system for rest and repair. Plus it feels great.
How to breathe diaphragmatically:
1. AssumeProper Posture /Stand (or sit up) straight and drop your shoulders back and down (lift your heart to 45 degrees).
2. Inhale slowly through your nose, while trying to get the air down as far as possible into your belly (your belly will push out – that is normal).
3. Pause for a second.
4. Exhale slowly through your nose (2 x longer than inhalation).
5. Repeat 5-10 times.
6. Do this every hour or before or if you feel overwhelmed and feel the stress fall away.
Always do this before you lie down to sleep and before you eat. These activities require a predominantly parasympathetic (rest/repair) nervous system activity.
Breathe 4 Health!
Dr. Nicholas Araza DC CCWP
Santa Barbara Family Chiropractic