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Just...Breathe

The thing about breathing is...I can highly recommend it. It's such a buzz, if only you pay attention to it. You have been doing it for a while now, but how good are you at it?


James Nestor, scientific journalist and author of an excellent book called Breathing: The New Science of a Lost Art, waxes lyrical about our forgotten affinity with that which is most natural to us - our breath.


We respire on average about 25,000 times a day, that's about 17-18 times per minute, although according to Nestor, that is at the high end of what it should be. Health guidelines are that we breathe 12-18 times a minute normally, and, if you can only remember to do this a few times a day - get a stopwatch and set it for a minute and see if you can go through just 6 breath cycles in that time.


All kinds of good come from breathing in through the nose, such as optimising our rate of respiration. Doing this pressurises and humidifies the incoming air, protecting the lungs from allergens and other airborne nasties. It might even prevent you getting colds or other respiratory viruses. You also take the air deeper into your lungs, rather than just the top half, so you can absorb more oxygen.


Massive benefits are available for asthmatics (NEVER come off your inhaler without talking to a doctor first, however), and people with stress and anxiety. In this excellent podcast I have provided a link to below, Nestor talks with Dr Rangan Chatterjee about the benefits of breathing mindfully in terms of stress reduction. (It's a 2 hour podcast, but it's worth a listen. This is breathing for God's sake, our most fundamental function. How long do you spend watching Eastenders?)


https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/268-this-daily-breathing-technique-will-transform-your/id1333552422?i=1000559907919


The good doctor Chatterjee, a prolific author on weight control, poses that if you have an over-eating issue caused by stress, then managing that same stress by breathing right might be more effective than going on a diet.


Above all else, you don't need to read a book or listen to a podcast, just get yourself thinking about your breath. As often as you can, breathe in mindfully through the nose and out through the nose. It's calming and pleasant - unless you have a snotty nose of course, in which case give yourself a few days before you try that.


It's free, you always have it with you, and it can change your life.







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