Monday, June 10, 2019

Why Not Breathe More Slowly and Deeply??

One of the easiest and simplest ways to reduce your experience of anxiety and stress is deeper and slower breathing. You have heard about it many times, haven’t you? If you are suffering from anxiety, obsessive thoughts, stress, pressure, worries, etc., it is really helpful to incorporate deep and slow breathing in your life. However, many people don’t do that but still complain about their emotional problems. This breathing is free, effective, and with no side effects… Why not?? Today, I won’t talk about the importance of deep breathing (because many people have done it already everywhere!), but share my thoughts on why people don’t.

Stubbornness?: I think one of the biggest reasons is we are just so stubborn and inflexible. We like and follow our routine, and it is just so difficult to change the routine, including our way of breathing. It does not matter if we are benefitting from our routine or not. We just continue it. When I do life-coaching, this is one of the biggest obstacles I have to deal with, and I have to use a variety of behavior-modification strategies to make a change. We can read what’s good for us and what works for our life from many personal development books and websites, and if we all follow some good ideas and advice, people are much happier and healthier by now, right? That’s not how we normally are. Therefore, we first need to understand our fundamental difficulties with changing our routine, and learn how to manipulate ourselves to incorporate something new.

Not Magical Enough?: Also, probably breathing appears too dull and simple to be something to get excited about. Like a variety of diet plans and exercise machines people are fascinated about and fail at repeatedly, we just want something that look special, sexy, and magical. Something that is strangely and magically easy and effective to make everything so great! Breathing sounds so boring and too simple, like eating healthy and exercising more. Therefore, it does not appeal so much.

Don’t Know How?: In addition, I have to say many people don’t really know how to deep breathe effectively. I teach my clients how to deep breathe effectively, and most of them use their chest, instead of their diaphragm. As a result, it is not only less effective but also uncomfortable. Obviously, if it does not feel good or work effectively, people don’t want to continue it.

Lack of Self-Monitoring?: Self-monitoring is another interesting factor. When my co-author and I did research in Japan about deep breathing and self-monitoring in different populations, we were surprised how many people cannot even monitor their emotional experience and condition, as well as their environmental factors. Such a big lack of awareness was one of the common issues we observed. If you don’t pay attention to your own experience, you cannot even notice how your breathing is affecting you and your life. Therefore, people don’t do it, because they don’t notice the difference!

I have shared some reasons why I think people don’t take advantage of deep breathing. I don’t blame people for not utilizing deep and slow breathing, because it is not as easy as it sounds as I mentioned above. At the same time, if you slow down and deepen your breathing as part of your regular breathing, or for just 10 minutes a day (or even just a few breaths!), you can notice a remarkable difference. I personally want to do something that is simple, free, effective, and has no side effects for myself. What about you?

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