How to feel different by breathing different
Updated: Aug 17
I have always regarded myself an avid and capable breather. As something I have been subconsciously doing since day dot, I can’t honestly say I have given it too much thought.
Being a keen swimmer throughout my teen years, and now an (attempted) gym goer, I have of course noticed the connection of exercising and my breathing pattern. During harder sets in training, land or water, the racing heartbeat and increasing gasps for air were an expected part of being active.
However, I never truly understood why this would also be apparent in situations where I was in a university seminar full of new faces, or simply making small talk on a first date.
It wasn’t until I spoke to Rodger about the concept of breath, in which he explained the importance of fully engaging with this phenomenon in connection to our emotions and physical pains.
Consciously changing the way that you breathe and regulating a healthier breathing pattern can in turn create a happier, anxiety-free reality…
Fight or Flight
Stress and anxiety play a significant part in changing our breathing patterns. If we perceive to be in a stressful situation, our nervous system and brain tell us what need to act – our ‘fight or flight mode’ sets in.
We all have moments in life where we feel anxious, as feeling this uneasy and difficult emotion is ultimately human nature. However, for people dealing with chronic anxiety, this sense of ‘fight or flight’ can be a regular occurrence and means they are stuck in a harmful breathing pattern.
“Ultimately stress, anxiety and our nervous system’s response can change our breathing pattern.”
Rodger highlighted how important it is to get to the root cause of this level of anxiety, and therefore considers the relation of breath to past traumas. Often these traumas, no matter how big or small, are not processed.
Using a treatment named ‘Somato-emotional release therapy’, he addresses negative emotions which can be locked away. By revisiting these past traumas, he is teaching an individual to regulate their nervous system, helping those with chronic levels of anxiety.
Take a guess as to how part of this therapy is performed? Through breathing!
“Breathing is a powerful tool.”
How do I change my breathing pattern?
If you begin to feel anxious, try your best to slow your breathing by taking purposefully longer out-breaths. Exhaling is more powerful than breathing in, so regulating a strong outbreath means your nervous system will shift from a position of fight or flight to a calm orientation.
Over-breathing cannot only worsen anxiety, but can cause highly unpleasant physical sensations, including dizziness, nausea and feeling ‘spacey’. Rodger recommends trying to take part in mindful exercises, such as meditation and yoga, in which anxious thoughts are settled, plus breathing is thought about and controlled.
He also suggests lying down whilst engaging with your breathing or trying Tai Chi movements. Integrating movement with regulated breathing will show you how closely the two are interlinked and how they naturally coordinate.
"Every part of our body is connected."
Through having a holistic perspective, Rodger highlights that physical issues we experience can have a direct relation to our nervous system and mental state.
This is what I have learned makes RD Physio so different, is that they aim to look for the why, avoiding temporary relief and truly addressing the cause.
Reconnecting with your body through thinking about the ways in which you breath will allow you to manage and reduce chronic stress and anxiety. If you want to re-train your body to work in harmony, remember to relax your body, slow your outbreath and begin to retake control of your breathing habits. Subsequently, watch your life improve!
To watch the Rodger's video on this topic, visit our YouTube Channel and watch 'Breathing - How can if impact us?'