Is There Such a Thing as Smarter Breathing?

How can something as simple as inhaling and exhaling alter our state of mind and health? Breathing is one of those things we completely take for granted.


We rely on our body’s autonomic nervous system to keep us breathing while we sleep, eat, exercise, and sit around binge watching our favorite shows. Why should we take notice of a simple and automatic function that totally takes care of itself? Or does it?


When a global pandemic or any number of other viruses flare up, we are more likely to value that simple act of breathing. The last two years have been a grim reminder of how delicate our respiratory system is in the face of disease AND daily life. It doesn’t take a major assault on our airway to experience disruption in our lives. In fact, most of us have plenty of interference with the stresses of our schedules, workload, and obligations.


I run on the anxious side. When I was little, I chewed my lip and bit my fingernails as if they were my enemy. Adulthood brought excessive worry and sleepless nights. It’s honestly been tough to find the me that I’m supposed to be.


Who would expect that breathing differently could ease that inner angst?

All of us are going to be anxious occasionally, but if you experience that rushed or panicked sensation more often than you’d like, you might find these tips helpful.


According to James Nestor, New York Times Bestselling author of Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, we have probably been doing this breathing thing all wrong.


He claims that small changes to our regular breathing can improve our health in so many ways, some of which have little connection to respiration. Nestor goes on to promote breathing as the most vital aspect of our healthcare practices.



Research in support of these techniques is impressive and explains how so many yoga and meditative practices are effective in improving our physical health, mental health, immune function, and athletic performance.


Breathe deeper. Simple enough, isn’t it? Shallow breathing is our body’s response to fearful or overwhelming stimuli. When we engage our more extensive lung capacity, we give needed oxygen to our body packed full of rich nutrients that replenish our cells through deep belly breathing.


Breathe slower. When you consciously slow down your intake of air you send the message to your brain that “You’ve got this”. Our current lifestyles have disrupted our breathing and we are breathing far more than is needed.


Use your nose to breath. Yes. Breathe in and out only through your nose – even when exercising. It may be hard to get used to, but the benefits are plentiful for sleep and better health. Also, it’s not only possible, but refreshing once you get the hang of it.



I encourage you to remind yourself of these simple adjustments to your pattern of breathing daily and take note of the many benefits that come your way. Better yet, pick up a copy of Breath today. It’s not only informative, but also thoroughly entertaining.

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