When we can breathe freely, we also feel free. But how often do we take time out to focus on our breathing?

Agitation and stress cause shallow and rapid breathing. How do we break out of that negative spiral? It is actually very simple …



When you sit hunched up, your lungs are compressed, so try to sit up straight as much as possible. Unrestricted respiration enables you to relax, and in turn relaxation allows you to breathe naturally. Yoga makes optimum use of this positive spiral and it soothes your body and mind. Through breathing techniques, but also through physical exercises.

Manage stress
Do you know what happens to your breathing when you receive an unpleasant email? Or if someone phones and reminds you that you have forgotten an appointment? Try to find out. Do you start to breathe faster, taking shallow breaths? Or does your breath get caught in your throat? Try to totally focus on that and calm your breathing down. Now that your attention is on your body, the stress response will have time to subside. Once we are calm, the solutions are more obvious than you may have thought.

At work too
When at work, you may enjoy occasionally doing breathing exercises – even when you are not experiencing direct stress. Close your eyes and breathe in slowly through your nose, wait for a few seconds and then slowly blow the air out of your mouth. Do this a number of times, a couple of times a day. You can do this at home too, or wherever you happen to be. This will make it easier to control your breathing and manage the stress response.

Respiration and exercise
Are you always out of breath after exercising? That can undermine your motivation. Once again, the solution to this is well-controlled breathing. The rule that applies to healthy physical exercise is, if you are no longer able to speak, you are exercising too intensively. A heart rate monitor can also be helpful: always stay below 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. If you want to improve your breathing, read our article Healthy exercise.

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