Breathing is unconscious isn’t it? Well yes, most of the time. But many day to day stressors may make our breathing erratic, sometimes too fast, and often too shallow. Dysfunctional breathing can, over time become habitual and in turn lead to unpleasant symptoms such as giddiness, breathlessness and even muscle pains. That’s why it’s important to practice breathing in an effective and controlled manner every day.

Here’s five top tips to better breathing for life:

1: Breathe through your nose: the nose is part of the respiratory system with immune and protective properties. If you have difficulty with clearing your nasal passages why not try a nasal douche available from most chemists?

2:  Keep your lips closed: Open mouthed breathing dries our mouth and can be a cause of bad breath – yuch!

3: Minimise your upper chest movement. Place one hand on the top of your chest and another over your belly, as you take a breath in you should feel your tummy move out under your hand but ideally there will be very little movement at your upper hand. This means your diaphragm (the big muscle designed for breathing) is doing most of the work not the smaller muscles of your rib cage.

4: Use counting to pace yourself as you breathe in and out. Breathe in for a count of 4, pause and then breathe out for 4.

5: Relax! Check your shoulder position, release any muscle tension. Some people find it helps to say something in their head as they breathe out “calm” or “relax”.

Practicing this breathing control for five to ten minutes every day will improve the efficiency of your breathing meaning that more oxygen will get around your body. You’ll have more energy and find it easier to cope with stressful situations. Better breathing for life means better living! Pursed lips breathing