Staying Healthy and How to Perform Diaphragmatic Breathing

Different people have different ways of maintaining their mental and physical self in their topmost condition. Some people may not even have to work at it much due to excellent inherited genes. However, most of us do need to work at staying healthy so that we do enjoy life to its fullest.

Regularly do deep, slow, diaphragmatic breathing. One of the best ways to relax and to improve your general health is to frequently do deep, slow breathing. By doing deep breathing, one relaxes the entire body; all the cells within all the organs of the body are relaxed. This makes the body more capable of dealing with stress, which in turn, causes less illness. Of course, you also feel better when you are able to relax fully. For example, if you are relaxed, it stimulates your digestion, so that your food is well absorbed. It also makes you less worried, for when you are relaxed, you tend to have a more positive frame of mind. For those of you interested in beauty (well, most of us are), doing deep breathing relaxes all your muscles, including your facial muscles, so that you will likely have a less stressed or wrinkled face. 

The way to do deep breathing is to use what is known as diaphragmatic breathing, or the type of breathing that singers use. How do you use your diaphragm to breathe? It's quite simple actually. Just lie down on your bed or the couch and lightly put your hand on top of your belly. Breathe in and out naturally. You should notice from your hand that your belly is rising up and down. That is diaphragmatic breathing.

The easiest way to practice diaphragmatic breathing if you have never done it before is to pretend you are yawning. Just go ahead and yawn, and your diaphragm naturally expands and contracts. Put your hand on your belly a few times to get used to it. Once you have gotten used to this, you won't have to pretend you are yawning, but you will actually do it quite naturally. You should also deep breathe slowly. Inhale and exhale to the maximal amount slowly. Also, try to hold the inhaling and the exhaling each for a few seconds (don't hold it too long, just long enough that you don't feel like it's an overexertion). If you still can't seem to do deep breathing by following these instructions, you may even want to consider taking singing lessons, as the teacher should be able to teach you in person.

The longer a period of time that you do deep breathing, the better. For example, you may even relax yourself so much that you feel yourself drooling. This is because your parasympathetic nervous system, or the branch of the nervous system that helps you relax, is very active, and saliva secretion is one of its roles. 

Each day if you can squeeze in 15-20 minutes that would be very helpful. However, if you do not wish to deep breathe on a regular basis, you can also do it whenever you feel like getting some extra relaxation. You can either do it sitting in a chair, lying down, or standing up. You may want to close your eyes when you do it so that your eyes don't drain you of any energy. You may also want to listen to some slow music while you do it. Listening to your favorite music also helps relaxation in general. For deep breathing, though, if it is not slow music, it would probably be better if you didn't listen to it while performing your deep breathing because it may interfere with your ability to deep breathe slowly. An added bonus to this exercise is if you were to deep breathe in a park, or where there is a lot of fresh air, you will likely feel even more rejuvenated. 

Apply humor to your life. Besides deep breathing, humor, as many people probably already know, is another great stress reliever as well as health maintainer.  Like deep breathing, it definitely relaxes when you laugh heartedly. So don't hesitate to watch those funny videos, read those funny books, or laugh at yourself. Try to see the funny side of every situation.

Stay away from addiction like the plague. Avoid addiction in anything and everything. For example, you may be addicted to surfing the web, or you may be addicted to driving, or you may be addicted to eating grapes all the time. There is probably no end to the things that people can be addicted to. 

There are many reasons why people do these things. Anthony Robbins mentions that it is due to "pleasure." This state of mind can be interpreted as a sense of happiness, a state of euphoria and relaxation of the muscles and the entire being such that people continually engage in a certain behavior in order to maintain such a state. An addiction, as the word implies, is extremely difficult to remove once you are addicted it, so the best bet is just to not even begin to get addicted to anything in the first place. 

Do not overload yourself. If you have too many things to do, or are constantly rushing, rushing, rushing, you may be inadvertently breaking down your health. At work, if you really feel that you have too much to do, try to talk with the boss. If the boss is not reasonable, try to see if you can find another job, work part-time, or find ways to make your job easier for yourself. At home, there are often many things that we do that do not need to be done. Try not to be a perfectionist. Give yourself some leeway to be a bit sloppier in some areas because we cannot maintain perfection in all areas of our life. Also ask if others are willing to share your workload. 

Whether people have many tasks to complete, though, many people have a tendency to rush in the morning when they get up, but a simple solution is just to get up 15 minutes earlier. In dong so, you will not feeling that uneasy feeling of rush inside during the morning. The morning should really be the fresh start of a new day and you should be as fresh and alert as possible, not rushing. 

Establish a supportive network. Try to surround yourself with people who support you and whom you, in turn, support. If you have a problem, it is generally quite therapeutic to talk about it with others. Feeling stressed or pent up often leads to unhealthy activities or a sense of anxiety. Thus, talking about your problems to others helps tremendously. If you do not have anyone with whom to discuss your problems, your neighborhood or city may have a local crisis line to phone and talk about your problem. A more scaled-up version of that is a professional psychologist, which actually often helps if you can find one suitable to your style.

Do tasks you enjoy. Maintaining a hobby, or anything that you enjoy doing, will also greatly enhance your well-being. This is because you are so absorbed in that enjoyable task that it will naturally relax your entire body already, and as discussed, being relaxed makes your body healthier and stronger. Being absorbed in a task also means that you do not have the leisure to worry about what may happen tomorrow, what may happen next week, what may happen next month. Instead, you are focused on your present task. You achieve a state of peacefulness and joy, which further decreases the chances of coming up with negative thoughts.

Of course, the conventional methods of staying healthy many of us are probably quite familiar with: doing exercise, eating a healthy diet, regularly visiting your physician. Those you should, of course, continue as well in addition to some of the less often applied or mentioned ways mentioned in this article. Whenever you feel that nothing is working, though, do not hesitate to get qualified support, such as that from your physician. Stress may also come from dealing with others, so you may wish also check out the Communication section of this site.

In summary, several ways to stay healthy are to:

A. Regularly do slow, deep breathing.
B. Apply humor to your life.
C. Stay away from addiction like the plague.
D. Do not overload yourself.
E. Establish a supportive network.
F. Do tasks you enjoy.

Life Skills > Healthy Lifestyle Skills > Staying Healthy:  Mentally and Physically


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Last Checked 2015