Monday 19 February 2018

Happiness upgrade… Take a breather

Deep breathing
Deep breathing

We all know how to breathe, right? We've been doing it since the day we were born and it's what keeps us alive every day. But did you know that you're probably doing it wrong? Yes, sorry to be the bearer of bad news but you are. Apparently 80pc of us are 'chest breathers' - which means that when we take a breath in our chest and shoulders move - but where we should be breathing from is our tummy.

When we are babies, we all take deep, relaxing breaths from our abdomen. As we get older, we learn that it doesn't look good to stick your tummy out and so we breathe from our chest instead, but this has a massive effect on our physical and mental well-being. Shallow chest breathing can make us feel stressed, robs us of energy and stops us from thinking clearly. So what to do? Well, take breathing breaks. Sitting still, inhale slowly to the count of five (make sure your tummy is going out as you do so), then hold your breath for the count of 20 before slowly exhaling so that your tummy goes down, to the count of 10. It will be difficult to start but stick with it. Doing this a few times a day is more effective than an extra coffee. And it's cheaper than Starbucks.

Marianne Power is the author of

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