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Chest breathing and anxiety

Breathing seems like one of the easiest things in the world. We inspire and we exhale. However, most adults have lost the connection to their breath, and this disconnection can cause many physical and psychological disorders, from headaches to heart disease.

Unfortunately, only few people are aware that they have a problematic breathing.

Today most people have a chest breathing, in other words too quickly and too superficially. Especially those who work at the computer while sitting for a long time.

How come?

Research has shown that most people support the upper body while working on the computer. This prevents the diaphragm from descending completely to inhale, creating chest breathing.

Chest breathers use the secondary respiratory muscles instead of the primary ones, developing in this way chronic tension in the upper back, shoulders and neck.

The organs of the lower body can also suffer from lack of circulation due to the continuous tension of the abdominal muscles.

Men usually breathe in this way as a result of a habitual reaction to stress, while women may breathe in this way to look leaner. Unfortunately, chest breathing is counterproductive to lose weight, because it compromises the healthy functioning of the organs of digestion, assimilation and elimination.

Also, as it is the breathing we use while under stress, this type of breathing could lead to a state of continuous anxiety.

Try to put one hand on the abdomen and the other on the chest. I personally recommend doing this exercise with a companion who observes you in order to have an objective control.

Ready? Then try to answer to the following questions:

- Which of the two hands is moving the most?

- Can you feel a greater movement in the lower or in the upper hand?

- You pull in and hold your abdomen when you breathe?

- Can you feel a growing tension in your shoulders when you breathe?

- Do your shoulders lift up instead of opening sideways while inhaling?

The solution for those who have chest breathing consists in:

- To learn to manage stress;

- To work on self-esteem and acceptance of one's body;

- To learn to dissolve and to relax the shoulders and upper back;

- Being able to let your abdomen swell outside when you breathe. Do not use too tight clothes;

- To learn to rediscover essential breathing.

Do you recognize you in this description? Don't hesitate and contact me so that we can find out together what is the cause of your problematic breathing and how to regain a natural and fluid breathing. Free breathing is the result of deep relaxation, not of effort. Straining your breath or trying to solve with controlled exercises could be counterproductive because they act to quell the basic fears and problems that initially has caused problematic breathing. Mindfulness is an excellent ally to rediscover a healthy relationship with one's breath and with oneself.


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