How to breathe properly, steps for breathing properly, problem with chest breathing, chest breathing vs. diaphragm breathing

Learning How to Breathe Properly Can Increase your Health and Wellness

July 07, 2019

Increase Your Health and Wellness with Proper Breathing

Breathing is the utmost important thing the mind, body and spirit needs to function properly and for you to live well, but what may surprise you is that the majority of people are doing it wrong.

Of course, you’re doing it right in the sense that you’re alive and surviving. However, if you’re breathing improperly, you’re sending signals to your nervous system that results in you being in a constant state of stress.

So, even when you’re meditating, relaxing on a beach or doing other activities that you think are relaxing, if you aren’t breathing properly, your mind, body and spirit are always struggling with stress. To begin learning methods for breathing properly, we recommend reading The Breathing Book. Until then, have a read through this article which will help you improve your breathing with a simple, quick technique.

"And Breathe" pink neon sign

Chest Breathing Vs. Diaphragm Breathing

There are two types of breathing – chest breathing and diaphragm breathing. The majority of people breathe shallowly – and mindlessly through their chest throughout the day.

Diaphragm breathing, on the other hand, is breathing through your lower lungs/belly. For most people, this is the breathing they bring mindfulness to when meditating or trying to calm themselves down. What may surprise you though is that you should be breathing through your diaphragm with every breath you take; whether you’re meditating, watching TV, cooking or working away at your desk.

The Problem With Chest Breathing

Now, you may be thinking that as long as you’re breathing you’re doing all right – and that you are. But imagine that you could completely transform your mental health and wellbeing simply by breathing differently than how you are right now? That’s precisely what happens when you learn how to breathe properly.

Breathing through your chest sends signals to your brain that a threat is imminent, and as a result, it signals your nervous system to spike and become more active to prepare for a threat. However, since most people breathe through their chest all day long, they are constantly remaining in a state of stress.

girl running hand through hair with eyes closed while breathing through her nose

You may not think so right now because, well, you’re a chest breather and have yet to experience how breathing properly all day long can dramatically improve your wellbeing. And considering it doesn’t require any extra effort either once you have it down pat, there’s no reason to continue living in a state of heightened anxiety.

Activity: What Type of Breather Am I?

Now that you understand the differences and concerns associated with chest breathing, it’s time to determine what type of breather you are. This fun activity only takes a couple of minutes to complete and it will give you the answer as to whether or not you’re breathing properly.

  1. Place one hand on your belly
  2. Place the other hand on your chest
  3. Close your eyes and take a couple of long deep breaths
  4. Now, begin to breathe normally without thinking too much about it
  5. Notice which hand rises more than the other
  6. If the one on your chest rises more, you are a chest breather

How to Breathe Properly

The next step is to correct your breathing so you can begin to breathe properly and live outside of a constant state of stress. This is just as easy as the exercise above and the more you practice it, the easier and more effortless it will become.

  1. Take an inhale through your nose, focusing on filling your lower lungs (or stomach) first before filling your upper lungs (chest)
  2. Slowly exhale through your mouth, emptying your upper lungs before your lower lungs


And that’s it! Now, all you need to do is practice but since many of us breathe without even realizing it, it’s important to make an effort to tune into your breath regularly throughout the day to correct it as needed. Other than that, you’re one step away from Awakened Self.

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