How To Breathe: Reduce Fear, Pain, Stress Through The Breath

by Vanessa Kettler ~ ~

Sonoma County, CA. ~ Many of the problems we face in life are made far easier if we do one thing: breat he. The fears and anxi- eties of life are often greatly re- duced by taking a few deep breaths. A crucial el- ement of pain man- agement is deep

breathing. Breathing well is an essential step in all routes toward health. Oxygen is our most es- sential nutrient. We can live without food, water and sleep for hours or days at a time. But we cannot do without oxygen for more than a few seconds. On the other hand carbon di- oxide is a sub- stance that is toxic to human beings. (Green plants have the reverse requirements. They thrive on carbon dioxide and give off ox- ygen, one rea- son why gar- dening is such a soothing activity for humans.) Better breathing increases how much oxygen is available to the cells of the body, im- proving their strength and health. Less carbon diox- ide retention improves our spirit, our attitude and our well being.

But how do you breathe to get these kinds of ben-

efits? There are numer- ous breathing techniques available to us, many of which come from the Far

body via the blood stream. This causes us to live in a more toxic environment, often making us irritable or


as well as providing a setting lead- ing to poorer health.


your breath using these simple ex- ercises. Do them daily as well as any time you feel anxious or

East. Breathing attention is an essential component of yoga, tai chi, chi gong, structured meditation...all derived from Far Eastern practices.

Our breathing becomes more shallow as we age and as we experience stress. This is partly be- cause of increased sitting and inactivity. But this also is often the re- sult of tension, anxiety, fear and depres- sion. Tension is introduced into the up- per body par- ticularly.

The shoulders roll

forward and creep up to our ears and our chest sinks down. As the chest de- presses it becomes harder to inhale, creating shallow breathing. Shallow breath- ing causes carbon dioxide to remain in the body too long while at the same time limiting how much oxygen is taken in. Less oxygen is delivered to the cells of the

fearful. There are many breath-

ing exercises. My personal favorite is the 5-5-7 breath. It is a breathing style that immediately reduces anxi- ety. Often I need only one breath counted in this way to feel swift relief.

Breathe in through the nose for a count of 5. Hold your breath for a count of 5.

Exhale slowly out the mouth for a count of 7. Exhale as if you are creating a gentle breeze. Repeat as needed

Here is another technique. Instead of holding after breathing in, try instead to hold after you have ex- haled. Pause for a mo- ment and experience the body empty of breath. Notice how that sense of emptiness is profoundly relaxing. Breathe in again naturally.

One more tip: When

exhaling, get all the air out with an extra push at the end. When we breath

Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life. ~ Mark Twain

Here for Good, since 1959 ❖ 707/546-6000

UPBEAT TIMES, INC. • MAY 2020 • Pg 5 We Do It!

shallowly, stale air never really leaves the lungs. Try almost forcing out the very last little bit of breath by exhaling enthusiastically at the very end. It may end up causing you to cough a little. That is a natural reac- tion as you eliminate that continued on page 19

UPBEAT TIMES, INC. • MAY 2020 • Pg 5 The Verbal Commute

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Thank you all of you for continuing to send photos and fun stuff. Your partic- ipation makes producing each edition really enjoy- able. We hope you like our edition this month and... stay well, happy and opti- mistic. It’s a very healthy thing to do such as reading some of the jokes to each other and laughing a bit!

May this issue find you well!

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