Like most, you probably never think about how and when you are breathing. But the thing is, your breathing can subconsciously affect how you are feeling.
Breathing has the power to affect your mood and state of mind in so many ways; in fact, according to an expert breathing coach, the day-to-day stress you feel might be correlated to the quality of your inhales and exhales.
Because breathing is something you instinctively know how to do, Nevsah Karamehmet, an international breath coach, says you essentially have to retrain yourself to breathe the right way in times of stress or anxiety.
"Even if we all were born with a natural, perfect breath which was perfectly aligned with our respiratory system, we all learn to manipulate, control, [and] change our breathing consciously or unconsciously for different reasons," Karamehmet says.
Most of those reasons, she adds, have to do with suppressing certain emotions, particularly in times of stress.
Once you have become accustomed to the new techniques, it doesn’t take long to become a habit.
Breathing habits get triggered unconsciously and automatically because they became a habit, a physiological habit, and if we don't work on them with basic behavioural science rules, they will get triggered every time there is a situation," the breathing coach tells Elite Daily.
We can’t avoid stressful times or situations that might cause your breathing to become shallow, erratic, or otherwise disrupted, so when things don’t go to plan it is important to have techniques in place.
Instead of trying to avoid those situations, Karamehmet says, "consciously watching the breath during stressful times, when we are angry, tired, when things don't feel right, and we lose our focus, would be the best way to start."
Karamehmet also insists this is her most significant piece of advice for people who are looking for ways to manage mood swings and stress through their breathing.
"Do not manipulate [your breath]," she says. "Just watch. Be aware of what that breathing habit does to you — awareness is the key. Dysfunctional habits can be unlearned, and new habits can be learned, but only if you become aware of them first."