We are born with the knowledge on how to breathe deeply. Just watch a baby sleep and there is your evidence. Sometimes, as time goes by, we forget how to do this. And, when we feel stressed or anxious, our breaths tend to become shallow. This becomes a habit, and we get used to this shallow, chest breathing, which is not always satisfying or beneficial for us.
In times of uncertainty or turbulence, we might feel more stressed or tense than usual. We might feel things are out of our control and our anxiety might increase. One thing that is in our control is the way we breathe. And ‘belly breathing’ has real benefits – it slows down our heart rate and stabilises or lower our blood pressure. It helps us feel more relaxed and calm.
With diaphragmatic breathing, or ‘belly breathing’ the stomach, abdominal muscles and diaphragm are engaged when breathing. We consciously engage our diaphragm in order to take deeper breaths. Our stomachs rise and fall and we feel a stretching sensation in the stomach, rather than solely in our chest and shoulders.
Watch the video to find out how to do it, and for more information download the NHS guidance.