Who would have thought that something so simple and natural as breathing could be so difficult to do right? According to Emma Ferris, Physiotherapist and breathing coach, we’ve been doing it all wrong.
After thriving on stress for several years Emma realised the toll of constant stress was having a negative impact on her mind and body. And it wasn’t just her that was being affected. Her patients, friends and family were suffering from not having the tools to reduce the impact of being stressed.
While some stress can be good for you, constant stress has an impact on our nervous system, blood flow to our brain, digestive system, hormones and many other areas of the body. Our stress hormones flood our bloodstream mobilising our body into action, preparing us to get out of danger. The problem is our modern day dangers are not the same as a sabre tooth tiger chasing us, but our body still reacts the same. The constant alert of emails, family, work and financial pressures still trigger our primitive survival mode into red alert.
When we are under stress it is hard to break the pattern and relax the body and mind. That is where learning to change the way you breathe comes in. The way we breathe is both under conscious and subconscious control so learning to consciously breathe is like having a manual override of the stress system. It is why meditation, mindfulness, yoga, pilates and tai chi all start with how you breathe.
As we breathe over 17,000 times a day if we are not breathing effectively or constantly over breathing then our nervous system gets overloaded. When we are stressed our breathing rate and volume increase to supply our body with more oxygen. Over time bad breathing habits become dysfunctional and our brain and body think being in a stressed state is normal.
Breathing dysfunctions can be linked with high blood pressure, sexual dysfunction, fatigue, insomnia, digestive issues, jaw pain, headaches, and neck and back pain. Which is why it is key to build a good breathing foundation when embarking on any wellness journey.
But it’s not all bad news, not only are there ways to reset our breathing patterns, and help to minimize the effects of bad breathing, these can be quite simple and easy to integrate into our daily lives.
Learning to breathe properly helps to not only reset the body’s natural way of responding to stress, but it can also help us to deal with the stress itself.
At The Butterfly Effect, Emma teaches the world to breathe with both its online hub and retreats and workshops around New Zealand and the world. An online resource for better breathing, stress management, and wellness, the website is a practical source of advice, exercises, and guidance designed to help anyone to make small daily shifts towards better breathing. These incremental actions can add up to huge life changes, which is the idea behind The Butterfly Effect. Integrating ideas of mindfulness, meditation, and scientific theory, Emma works with people to regain their health and mental clarity in a holistic way – starting with the breath as a key element of everyday wellness.
If you’re ready to take the next step to optimal health and mental wellbeing, then it’s time to take control of your breathing.