Why are people allowed to breathe

Take a deep breath: Breathing is more than just taking a breath

For most people, breathing is a completely subconscious process. Like the heartbeat or digestion, breathing is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. For us this means that we don't have to worry about every single breath. But we could, because breathing can be consciously influenced. And you can make use of that.

Many people breathe rather shallowly and in the upper chest area in everyday life. “Each of us is familiar with shallow, faster breathing, for example when we feel stressed or fear. If, on the other hand, you are relaxed or asleep, we are accompanied by deep, slower breathing. Medically it can then be observed that the pulse and blood pressure also drop, and the whole body comes to rest, "explains Dr. Ursula Marschall, senior physician at Barmer. Because breathing is automatic, but it can also be consciously influenced, it is considered a connection between the human consciousness and the subconscious. Those who consciously breathe deeply into their stomach can, for example, help their concentration on the jumps, because the increased oxygen content in the blood directly benefits the brain cells. And even when you are under stress, you can relieve some of the inner tension by breathing deeply and slowly. Few people know that conscious and deep breathing has a positive influence beyond that. “Breathing deeply can help with a variety of health problems. In the case of panic attacks or anxiety states, conscious and calm breathing is one of the first measures that the person concerned should take in an acute case. People with high blood pressure or pain can also benefit from it, and it should also help in the area of ​​migraine treatment or various lung diseases. Long-term studies are still missing here, ”says Marschall.

Train self-awareness

The good news: "Healthy" breathing can be learned. The first priority is always to sharpen your own body awareness. In practical terms, this means concentrating on your breathing, feeling the air flow in, and deliberately letting it flow out again slowly. This can help people with insomnia because it makes it easier for them to switch off and relax more physically. Conscious breathing can also help you start your day better in the morning. Just take a few deep breaths in bed and stretch yourself with pleasure.

“If you want to practice breathing, you should get into a relaxed position and first notice your breathing without influencing it. After a few minutes you can start to lengthen the exhalation phase a little, ”advises Marschall. Sitting down is a particularly good place to find out about your breathing. Simply place your hand on your chest and feel how it rises and falls evenly. It is important to breathe consciously into the lower chest, then the breath will automatically become deeper. As a control, you can also put your hand on your stomach and feel whether the stomach really moves outwards when you breathe in and inwards when you breathe out. Finally, you can place your hands on the lower ribs and breathe against your hands. This means that a particularly large amount of oxygen is absorbed.