Photo by Eli DeFaria

You do it all the time. Inhale. Exhale. And then repeat. But do you make sure to utilize your full lung capacity when doing so?

Our way of breathing has a huge impact on our resilience and well-being. And even though it is vital for our existence, most of us are not aware of its huge potential. Probably, because we were never told what this overlooked resource actually has to offer. In today’s post, we explore how to breathe to avoid wrecking havoc throughout your body.

Most of Us Do Not Utilize Our Full Lung Capacity

When we speak to each other, are busy or when we do not want our belly to look too big, we tighten our abdominal muscles and our breath crawls up north.

This means that instead of using our diaphragm- a muscle that is actually there to help us make sure our organism gets enough oxygen - we use our chest, shoulder and neck muscles. And these aren’t really designed for it. So, we only utilize the top of our lung capacity.

Breathing With Your Diaphragm

The biggest and most oxygenic part of your lungs is placed near the lower ribs, which is where your diaphragm separates your chest from the abdomen.

Now, you can’t really see your diaphragm, but you can feel it. Try placing your hands around the lower part of your ribs. Then, inhale for a yawn. Feel how the yawn broadens your rib cage? This is your diaphragm doing its job. It’s broadening the rib cage horizontally and utilizing the oxygen absorption the best way possible. Yet, most of us tend to breathe vertically, which Belisa Vranich explains in the TED Talk below.

Actually, nine out of ten breathe too high up in the body when they are not aware of their breath. On the contrary, when breathing with your diaphragm, your blood pressure is lowered, your heart rate drops, stress is reduced, your muscles relax and your energy level increases.

Start Breathing The Right Way

So, want to benefit from all the awesome stuff horizontal breathing can bring you? Here are three things you can start doing straight away:

Get Familiar With Your Diaphragm

Next time you are lying down, try placing a hand on your stomach and feel how the belly and the rib cage move when you breathe deeply with your diaphragm.

Breathe Through the Nose

It’s easier to activate your diaphragm when you breathe through the nose. Your breathing automatically gets slower and deeper this way.

Boost Your Resilience & Well-Being

Next time you go into a demanding meeting make sure to use your diaphragm and breathe through the nose. It will boost your resilience and well-being.

And, if you want to practice your breathing even more, try the Resilio app. It turns your smartphone into a biomedical sensor that measures your pulse and lets you know how to breathe to build resilience. Happy Breathing!