I like to make an analogy to my clients that breathing is like recharging our batteries. If we go all day without recharging, we feel exhausted by the end of the day.
If you're reaching for sugar or caffeine based stimulants during the day, it may be because you're not breathing fully, and your body is in fight-or-flight mode.
When we breathe only into our chest (shallow breathing), we unknowingly start a chain reaction in our body, which goes like this:
- Your adrenalin pumps up
- Your stress hormone cortisol rises
- Your body thinks you are about to get into a fight or run away from a tiger
- Any bodily function deemed unnecessary for survival is switched off so you can have the energy to run away or fight when needed. The main ones include reproduction, digestion and fat burning. (This often manifests as infertility, indigestion, heartburn, gas, bloating and excess fat storage)
- You take longer to fall asleep at night because you're so wound up
- Your body only allows a light sleep (so you can hear the "tiger" about to attack you), and you don't recharge effectively
- You wake up exhausted
- You fuel up with sugary, carbohydrate-based foods and/or coffee to get you through the day, which encourages a fast energy boost and a slump which leaves you feeling even more tired
- You don't feel like exercising or moving your body because you have no energy
Does this sound familiar?
On the other hand, if you breathe deeply into your tummy, you set off a different chain reaction...
- You send the message to your body that all is well.
- Your body recognises there is no immediate danger and turns Rest and Repair Mode: ON
- Digestion improves, because there is sufficient blood in the digestive system
- Fertility improves, as your body sees it is "safe" to get pregnant
- Weight stabilisation often occurs since your body has the resources to deal with what you eat, rather than storing it for later
- Because you have been recharging throughout the day, you no longer need as many pick-me-ups, and you make healthier choices
- Because your body hasn't been on an energetic rollercoaster ride all day, you have energy to move your body
- Moving your body releases endorphins and serotonin, which make you feel happier
- You go to sleep easier because you're more relaxed
- You wake up more refreshed the next day
It's not an overnight shift; it takes a small time investment to retrain your breathing (and to remember to breathe this way consistently through the day). I used to put an alarm on my phone reminding me to breathe! Over time it naturally becomes part of how your body works, and you will realise you didn't need 3 coffees today, or half a packet of biscuits before dinner was ready.
Here's a short video about the importance of breathing
Try this right now: Take 3 deep breaths right down to your belly (lie down if needed). Do you feel more relaxed? Calmer? More centred?... Let me know in the comments!
PS: If you're ready to commit to your health goals, I'm here to help... My Spring Reset programme is helping my clients feel great, and you can feel great too! Find out more here