The average person takes 25,000 breaths a day – phew! Typically, the higher our stress level, the higher that number is. Stress triggers can be mental, emotional, or physical. Think: money, work, poor health, relationships, or change .. can be stressful, right?
Short-term symptoms of poor breathing (we’re all typically breathing pretty shallow and not taking full, deep breaths) can include: headache, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, upset stomach, and irritability.
The science is showing us that our bodies are actually telling us what to do according to how we breathe. The number of breaths we take per minute can make a difference in inducing stress or alleviating it, and a healthy number of breaths per minute is 8-10. (Higher breaths per minute were attributed to greater risk for disease in the body.)
We have particular nerve receptors in the lungs:
upper nerve receptors signal fight or flight (this is that shallow breathing we do much of the time)
lower nerve receptors signal rest and recovery
Take a moment if you haven’t already just by reading this and pay attention to your breathing – are you breathing shallowly, or deep? Take a full, deep breath – engage the diaphragm and let your chest and stomach expand out, then release it fully.
A good activity to try would be “box breathing” –
Breathe in for a 4-count
Hold for a 4-count
Breathe out for a 4-count
Hold for a 4-count
.. and repeat
The next time you’re feeling stressed, or maybe just trying to wind down before bed, we encourage you to give this a try. We’d love to hear your results!
Accountability for things like stress management (breathwork included!) is one available facet of our coaching that comes along with our private one-on-one personal training – it is a part of our holistic philosophy! Reach out to us today by applying for an Exploratory Session and let’s see how we can help you with your health, fitness, and wellness goals!