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As babies  we instinctively  know how to breathe  using  the diaphragm,  with the tummy moving up and down with each breath. For the most part, the breathing  volume matches the exact needs of the metabolism;  this is how the human  body was intended to function and results in good health.

Parents strive to protect their children, yet by becoming over-protective  they often  contribute  to problems  for their offspring later in life. Parents  habitually tend  to over-dress young children  and live in rooms  that are too warm or too stuffy, while the children  can also be exposed to an unsuitable diet  which  includes  too  much  sugar  and  too  many sweets,  chocolates  and  fizzy  drinks  to  which  they  soon become accustomed. It is then a simple progression  along a slippery slope to a diet high in junk food, artificial additives and sweeteners, sometimes  before a child even starts school.

Children  are often  advised by many  sources  to ‘take a deep  breath’. However, in this  situation  the  word ‘deep’ is used in the wrong context and a deep breath  in this case is actually a ‘big’ breath  – filling the  lungs  but not  using  the diaphragm.  So what  are  the  necessary  steps  to  break  this habit?

 

✦   Step One

Acknowledge the bad habit – in this case overbreathing – and the reason  why it is a bad habit. It is at this stage that the correct method  of breathing  is learned as well as the various ways of redressing the incorrect approach to breathing.

 

✦   Step Two

Often it is not until the breathing  pattern has been corrected that it comes to light that it was incorrect  in the first place. Therefore the solution lies in detecting the problem before it has even occurred. This pattern  of detection  and correction, caused  by slipping  back into  bad habits, may continue  for some  time.  Eventually, perhaps  after  much  trial and  error, becoming  aware of the breathing  pattern  at an earlier stage can prevent overbreathing.

Psychologists claim that, with the correct attention and discipline, a bad habit can be broken and a new and better habit  instilled  in just 21 days. However, when  it comes  to learning   a  new  way  of  breathing   a  little  more   time  is required  as the body becomes accustomed  to a fundamental change in something as basic and essential as breathing.  In reality, the time it takes is insignificant  when compared  with the benefits accruing from correct breathing.

 

✦   Step Three

With both  time  and  effort good  breathing  should  become routine, after all practice makes perfect. Eventually the good habit becomes like second nature and requires no conscious effort.  Sticking  to  the  better  breathing   routine   will then require only intermittent attention to confirm  the breathing is correct. The effort and  discipline  committed  to learning this method  of breathing  will now pay off; this is a time to feel good.

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