Breathing is a necessary function of life and one that is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. In other words, we don’t have to think about it. We just do it. We breathe throughout the day and when we’re sleeping. The constant exchange of air in our lungs happens even when we are not aware of it. Therefore, we don’t have to think about breathing, right? Wrong!

There are many times throughout the day when we may not be breathing optimally. Stress can be a factor contributing to ineffective breathing. Have you ever noticed being in a stressful situation, such as a conflict at work, heavy traffic, or during an intense suspense movie or sports competition that you are holding your breath? When you deprive your body of necessary oxygen from holding your breath or shallow breathing, your brain and heart don’t work effectively and you tire more easily. Every breath you take should come in through your nose, go all the way down to your belly, and back out through your nose. When you breathe in through your mouth, your lungs are exposed to more unfiltered air that contains bacteria. Breathing through the nose helps filter bacteria before air enters your lungs.