(thanks to J Kuttner and all other mentors along my way enlightening me on great breathing techniques)
Here’s a scenario.
You’re crossing a field and suddenly you hear the thunder of hooves and a big, black, mad as hell bull is charging towards you.
Without even thinking, your body is flooded with a rush of adrenaline, and you’re running as fast as you can the other way.
Even though you haven’t done any hurdles since high school, you vault over the fence before you realise what you’re doing.
In less than 10 seconds from when you first heard the bull, you’re 50 meters away, on the other side of the fence, eyes wide, heart pounding.
It’s only then that you realise that your chest is heaving and you’re breathing like an overworked bellows.
Now, this is known as a fight of flight panic response. And – in this situation – it’s perfect. It’s what kept us alive back when we were hunter gatherers, and just as likely to be hunted by sabre tooth tigers and hungry wolves.
In this scenario, you get a rush of adrenaline as your body sees it’s in danger. You breathe with your chest, as fast you can. You’re pulling in all the oxygen you can, using your pectoral muscles as well as your diaphragm and your scalenes. And as soon as you get out of danger you catch your breath and go back to normal.
But here’s another scenario.
You arrive in the office at 8am Monday morning. There’s an emergency situation at work, and suddenly you need to drop all your usual tasks and organise your way out of the chaos.
Everyone is looking to you to fix things, and around 11:30, you realise that you’ve spent the whole morning in a state of mild panic. For some reason, you’re feeling tension in your chest and upper shoulders.
You feel short of breath, even though – when you pay attention to your breathing -you feel like you’re breathing more than usual.
And you feel slightly light headed – and stressed.
This is what happens when you use stress breathing and you’re not being chased by a bull. And all too often this happens at work.
Your brain perceives danger & it turns on the fight or flight response. Your body is flooded with adrenaline – your heart rate & blood pressure go up, you sweat, pupils dilate & your breathing rate goes up.
Using all the accessory muscles you would need when you are being chased by a bull. However you have nowhere to run and are caged in your office or car or home.
Have you ever wondered why smokers find cigarettes so relaxing? Part of it is definitely the nicotine. But part of it is also the fact that they go outside for 2-3 minutes and do nothing but take slow, deep breaths as they smoke their cigarette. Check your breathing here at the brief Kiwi Nederland test.
When you use stress breathing for more than a few seconds you end up tensing up these muscles and creating bad posture.
Get up and move! Stretch like a cat and practice good breathing, for your health and good posture. It’s FREE. If you start with some deep sighs, your colleagues will laugh at you, your boss will ask what is wrong…but alle of them will follow , as soon as they know what there is to gain.
In fact, breathing and posture are so closely linked you can’t address one without the other. Want to know more and practice this and other simple life saving tips and tricks?
Contact me www.kwintessentieel.nl