How are you feeling this morning?
For this week’s Mental Sunshine I thought we’d continue with the theme of breathing.
Last week we talked about mouth taping – but why is taping your mouth to breathe through your nose so beneficial?
Let’s try a little experiment.
First, take five or six breaths through your mouth… and notice how your body feels during and after.
Next, take five or six breaths through your nose – and see how that feels.
When we breathe through our mouths, it sends the nervous system into “panic” mode.
Our heart rate increases; that ancient, intuitive part of the brain is assuming we need to escape and it’s getting ready to do that.
If you routinely breathe through your mouth you might be in that state so often that you don’t even really notice it. No wonder you’re exhausted!
Breathing through the nose does the opposite – it signals to the nervous system to calm down and relax.
Taking a deep breath through the nose can be one of the best ways to calm down when you feel yourself getting into a panic.
As well as this, there are several other benefits to nasal breathing.
For a start, air that enters the body via the nose has been warmed and humidified so that it doesn’t make the throat dry.
Those tiny hairs in our noses also do an important job of removing dust and other foreign particles from the air before it hits our lungs.
Nasal breathing also means we produce nitric oxide, a substance which helps to widen the blood vessels throughout the body – improving oxygen circulation.
Which can help us to feel more energetic and alert.
Lots of people think they can’t breathe through their nose – they say it feels restrictive.
But that’s often because after years of mainly mouth breathing, the body has adapted to that. And it can adapt to nasal breathing again too, if you give it a chance.
Why not start by just paying attention to how often you’re breathing through your mouth rather than your nose. Try to close your mouth more often.
See what happens.
A always, I’d love to hear how you get on – especially if learning to breathe through your nose more brings you more mental sunshine!