Lifestyle

5 Breathing Methods for You to Supercharge Your Day

emmy
Publish DateNov 30, 2021
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I never really paid attention to my breath, until one day I was breathing 100 miles/hour with my heartbeat racing like a formula 1. My whole body was all tensed up. My nose is grasping onto every single oxygen in the atmosphere, but I felt like nothing is being absorbed into my body.

 

On the verge of passing out, my brain was on its survival mode and digging through my memory for anything that can keep me alive. A breathing technique flashes through my brain: a double inhale follows by an exhale through the mouth. A stress-relieving technique (called "physiological sigh”) I saw on YouTube developed by a Stanford neurobiologist and ophthalmologist, Andrew Huberman, and David Spiegel, MD, associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford Medicine.

 

The technique works like magic. In just a few breaths, I was brought back to a stable and calm state.

 

Huberman explained how it works: "You have little sacks of air in the lungs, which increase the volume of air that you can bring in. Those sacks collapse over time, and as a result, oxygen levels start to go down and carbon dioxide levels go up in the bloodstream and body, and that is a big part of the signaling of the stress response."

 

The double inhales of the physiological sigh "pops" the air sacks (called alveoli) open, allowing oxygen in and enabling you to offload carbon dioxide in the long-exhaled sigh out.

 

This is a real-time tool that people can deploy anytime, anywhere to reduce stress, Huberman said.

 

I was so intrigued by how mastering my breath can control my body responses, energy, and state. I was wondering, besides reducing anxiety and stress, what other powers are there? I jumped down the rabbit hole to try every breathing method out there and found the 5 most effective breathing techniques that supercharge my day.

 

  • Energy Boost

I like to do this first thing in the morning to kickstart my day. It gets me out of the half-asleep and half-awake state, making me feel refreshed. It not only boosts my energy but also increases my alertness whenever I need it.

  1. Inhale through your nose: 7 secs
  2. Exhale quickly through your nose: 3 secs
  3. Repeat 5 times, or do it until you feel the effect

 

  • Sharp Focus

Especially when the afternoon slump hits, the box breathing method is my go-to method to regain my focus and concentration.

  1. Inhale through the nose: 4 secs
  2. Hold the breath: 4 secs
  3. Exhale through the nose: 4 secs
  4. Hold the breath: 4 secs
  5. Repeat 5 times, or do it until you feel the effect

 

  • Immediate Calm

Whenever I feel a little tense before a meeting or get a little social anxiety during a party, I would immediately use the "physiological sigh” to ground myself, relax, and be ready to go. Once or twice usually do the job without looking like I’m hyperventilating in a social setting.

  1. Inhale through the nose: 2 secs
  2. Inhale again through the nose: 2 secs
  3. Exhale through the mouth: 2 sec
  4. Repeat 5 times, or do it until you feel the effect

 

  • Mindful Breathing

As I rush through the schedule of my day, I often do not realize that I’m breathing through my chest. I have been trying to consciously and mindfully adjust my breathing to breathe with my diaphragm to reduce stress and be more present throughout the day.

  1. Inhale until your belly is expanded: 3 secs
  2. Exhale until your belly is contracted: 3 secs
  3. Repeat 5 times, or do it until you feel the effect

 

  • Better Sleep

Also known as the 4-7-8 breathing technique, advocated by renowned celebrity doctor Andrew Weil who claims it to be a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. The deep exhale aid to relax the tension and wine down the body to prepare for sleep.

  1. Inhale through your nose: 4 secs
  2. Hold the breath: 7 secs
  3. Exhale through your mouth: 8 secs
  4. Repeat 5 times, or do it until you feel the effect

 

Like meditation, people do recommend setting aside 5-10 minutes to practice daily breathing. But honestly, I prefer to incorporate them in my life and use them whenever I need them in certain situations and train my every breath to be using my diaphragm.

 

After using these techniques a few times, I found myself unconsciously applying them whenever there is a fit. It feels like having superpowers that you can use anytime to level up your energy and enhance performance!

 

Try out these breathing techniques and comment below to let me know which one is your favorite! If you have tried other techniques, I would love to learn them too!

 

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