Body & MindFeatures

19 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About Breathing

2 Mins read

Breathing. Something we all take for granted. Until we forget to breathe, suffer an asthma attack or panic! That kind of focuses our attention on it. We spoke to a breathing educator who told us why we should be paying attention to it a lot more.

Joel Jelen (pictured) is the founder of His firm gives people an understanding of how we breathe governs sleep, digestion, stamina and even how we work. Among the many other things our breathing affects is relaxation.

He says: “The most common form of breathing amongst the general population is over breathing – breathing at a rate greater than your body metabolically requires…or hidden hyperventilation.”

Joel has put together a list of 19 things that you didn’t know about breathing.

1. People with anxiety can dramatically reduce their anxiety by physically changing how they breathe

2. Prolonged periods of stress change your breathing rate

3. Drinking carbonated water helps with symptoms of hyperventilation: after a talkative day at work it can replace the lost carbon dioxide blown out of your mouth when speaking!

4.The rate at which you breathe governs your mood. Slow your breathing down, change your mood

5.Over breathing washes C02 from your lungs and reduces the necessary levels required for your blood, tissues, cells and oxygenation of the brain.

“I’ve met a lot of people in newsrooms who can enjoy a much better quality of life in the workplace knowing this stuff!”

Michelle Rushton, Trinity Mirror & Good News Liverpool

6.Measure your breathing rate naturally using the control pause: Using a stopwatch, pinch your nose, hold your breath until slight air hunger, then release. Average score is around 20. Optimal breathers can achieve 40 with minimal effort.

7.Frequent sniffing, sighing and yawning with big breaths is a symptom of hyperventilation.

8.Breathing through your mouth can cause dental cavities.

9.Mouth breathing triggers upper chest breathing. Chest breathing can create palpitations because you’ve put your body in fight or flight.

10.Mouth breathing doesn’t make you look very attractive [according to Joel!]

11.Nose breathing is your greatest immune defence. Bacteria, viruses, parasites, and pollutants can be fended off by Nitric oxide (NO) produced in the paranasal sinuses.

12. If you over breathe you might crave more carbohydrates.

13. Dysfunctional breathing is the second biggest factor in common pain felt in the neck and shoulder girdle. Posture is first, both are interlinked.

14. Your tongue posture determines how healthy your breathing is and how healthy you are. Incorrect tongue posture narrows the airways and impairs regular breathing patterns.

15. High temperatures in the home increase your breathing rate.

16. A deep breath needs to be light, quiet, effortless, soft, through the nose, tummy-based, rhythmic and gently paused on the exhale. It is not a huge, loud, visible, mouth-exhale-based motion.

17. Breathing in for 2 seconds through the nose before speaking can help you breathe effectively.

18.Processed foods increase your breathing rate. Alkaline diets are the most efficient in recovering from over breathing.

19. You can eradicate negative thoughts by focusing on the breath, always through the tummy and the nose. Breathe as often through your nose as you eat through your mouth.

Joel helps people and organisations use breathing as a way to improve quality of life and working environments. He can help suffers of chronic fatigue, and people with anxiety, sleep disorders and asthma. He is a Fellow of the Buteyko Professionals International organisation (FBPI), also serves on their management board.

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