And Breathe…

And Breathe…

Hi there

Thanks for popping in. You know that feeling when you’re well and truly on the mend? There’s a change in the energy levels, a shift in the brain fog. Well, today was that turning point. For the first time in a long time, I was able to inhale and fill my lungs with air, like properly, right down to the bottom. And my God! Did that feel good! No pain.

To be honest, since the Corona Virus took us all out in March 2020, I don’t think any of us have been breathing properly. If you know there’s an air-born killer virus, you’re not going to take deep breaths, now are you!! I actually think we need to start learning how to breathe properly again. Albeit subconsciously, I would say that we – well, I can only speak for myself – developed a way of shallow-breathing. I know that whenever I passed anybody in the street- even if we did rings around each other, I always held my breath behind my mask until they were well down the road. And I bet I’m not alone. Now I’m no expert, but I’m sure we really ought to inhale well, in order to oxygenate our bodies.

Who’s with me? Fancy a little healing breathing? Dave was telling me about something called box breathing. Really simple exercise.

How to do Box Breathing

  1. Step 1: Breathe in counting to four slowly. Feel the air enter your lungs.
  2. Step 2: Hold your breath for 4 seconds. Try to avoid inhaling or exhaling for 4 seconds.
  3. Step 3: Slowly exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds.
  4. Step 4: Hold for 4 seconds. Go back to step 1.

Apparently, there are multiple benefits to this simple exercise…

  • It can help you cope with panic and stress when feeling overwhelmed. …
  • It helps you to sleep when you are having insomnia.
  • It helps to control hyperventilation as you can instruct your lungs to breathe rhythmically.
  • It helps you refocus when you are having a busy or stressful day.
  • It eases panic and worry.

Well there you go! Such a simple thing to do (when you haven’t got lung problems of course!) How many rounds. 4 apparently. I think I’ll do this morning, noon and night. Doesn’t sound too strenuous to me. If I think it’s too much, I’ll just do 2 cycles to start with.

As my Mum always says, Quote for the day….

You’ve got to help yourself whenever you can.

Hilma Gray

So on that empowering note, I shall love you and leave you.

Love always,

Barb x x x

Did you know…

A giraffe’s lungs are about eight times larger than a human’s lungs because if they were not, a giraffe would breathe the same air over and over again. Since the giraffe’s trachea is so long and narrow, there is a big volume of dead air in the giraffe. However, the giraffe’s breathing rate is about one-third slower than man’s breathing rate to help with this dead air problem. When a giraffe takes a new breath, the “old” breath is not totally expelled yet. The giraffe’s lungs must be larger to accomodate this “bad” air and still allow its respiratory and circulatory systems to get oxygen to all parts of its body.

See? It could always be worse! We could have 6ft long necks!!

45 thoughts on “And Breathe…

  1. Hi Barb
    I am glad to hear you are on an upward trajectory. Totally agree on the breathing front. I have recently started yoga and our teacher gets us to focus on our breathing every session. It certainly makes me feel better.
    I also agree with your mum’s quote. Mine always used to say “God helps those who help themselves “.
    Anyway, have a restful weekend.
    Lots of love
    Zara xx

  2. Good to hear that you seem to have turned that magic corner and are feeling better. I have been using box breathing for a while, as I tried it when I couldn’t sleep. I have also taught my granddaughter, who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks and it does seem to help her. You are consciously thinking of your breathing and it focuses the mind away from the anxiety, as well as helping you to breathe properly. I hope it helps you too.
    Have a good, relaxing weekend. X

  3. now that sounds a good thing to try….I am a VERY Shallow breather, sometimes my husband checks me when in bed, to see If I’m still alive, he can’t hear me breathing!!
    I don’t breathe properly, it does not come natural. if I speak to someone, I try to say it all, without taking a breather…then I can hear a voice say…Breathe!! doctors even tell me to breathe….strange. definitely my weak point.

  4. Wow Barb every days a school day, I didn’t know that about giraffes but when you now know, it makes complete sense.
    I’m with you and still think that holding your breath around people has become muscle memory, I’m included in that notion.
    I think your box breathing is a great idea. I know my lung capability has reduced as G has to do his own readings for his asthma as they stopped doing the checks at surgery’s and my readings are worst than his, him being an asthmatic and smoker. I’m going to start that on my way to work see if I can build up my lung capacity, it might give me some more energy.
    I’m so glad to hear you are feeling more like YOU!
    Im up for helping myself and others when I can.
    lots of love. T. xx

  5. Great quote.
    Poor giraffes.
    Try Tai Chi. It concentrates on breathing and is so calming. Also makes you stand correctly so your breathing is beneficial.
    Kept getting better. X x

    1. Hi Sheila…I practiced Qi Gong for a while, and thats where the ‘box breathing’ practice came from. Tai Chi is certainly a good thing , in fact we are looking for classes in our area… thanks for the suggestion …David

  6. Lovely to hear you have turned a corner. Hope there are not too many corners before the straight and narrow. Take care and keep breathing xx

  7. Pleased to hear you feel so much better. I do this box breathing regularly. When I first started I could only manage 2 seconds on each stage but when that became easy I moved on to 3 seconds and can now do the 4 seconds. It does work and for me is stress busting and very calming. Hope it works for you too xx

  8. It’s lovely to hear you sounding so much brighter. I’m so glad you are feeling better but please be kind to yourself & don’t overdo it. ( Can you tell I’m a mother?!!) 😂😂xx

  9. I know exactly what you mean I go into a shop and nearly hold my breath now ! With or without a mask on. Hubby does breathing exercises as he has COPD, he know what it’s like not to take a full breath when he gets to the top of the stairs. Glad to hear you’re really on the mend. Hope Dave gets the weekend off to spend it with you. X

  10. I was re-taught to breathe by the hospital physio some while ago. Most people don’t realise their lungs might be as long as their torso. Check your breathing (to see if you might need to re-think how you breathe) by holding one hand on your upper chest (sternum) and one on your lower tummy. Breathe in, if the top hand moves you might be breathing too shallow. The lower hand should be the only one that moves. I will try Dave’s system.
    Maggie (Bendy Yorkite)
    PS you can breathe out now!!!

  11. So good to hear you are improving and feeling so much better. I must try this box breathing and add it into my daily routine, I am sometimes anxious and can’t sleep, this sounds like a good way to relax…..
    Keep making progress Barbara and continue to get stronger.
    Much love

  12. I’ve been doing these breathing exercises since lockdown to help with panic attacks. They work for me . Please try them peeps . Xxxhugxxx

  13. Box breathing is fantastic, I use it whenever I can’t sleep, rarely get to 4 cycles, it also helps with my chronic hip pain. Good to hear you sounding so much better too, keep up the good work. Love as always.

  14. It’s lovely to hear that you’re breathing has improved so much, what a relief that you can finally feel the improvement 🥰
    I’m with you re the holding of breath behind someone else walking down the street in front of you, especially if the wind was blowing in your face! I think from tomorrow, I’m going to go in the garden and breathe properly, thank you to you for the reminder 💕
    My Mum had a saying, it was “put it like that” if she’d given her opinion on something.
    Mum was quietly spoken and everyone loved her, she never had a bad word to say about anyone, but if she had something to say it was always quite profound…..Oh what I would give to hear her say those words again today. Love & miss her every day 💕
    Anyway, we’re going to carry on enjoying the 70’s music on tv. Great uplifting tunes for a Friday night…..ABBA’s on at the moment….makes me want to put my handbag in the middle of the living room and dance round it!!! 🤪
    Have a lovely evening with Dave & your fluffy boys xxx

  15. I’m pleased to know I’m not the only one who holds their breath when walking past someone.
    Glad to hear you’re making progress. Take it slowly to improve completely.

  16. Hi Barbara
    Well done in having a good breath and Dave seems to have come up with a good exercise .
    I will be having a go as I have cold and asma,so worth a go thank you
    Hope your days get better each day
    Lots of love a gentle hugs

  17. We are still wearing masks when we go out as hubby has heart and lung problems and we cannot take chances. Doesn’t help proper breathing. Also I find I hold my breath when concentrating on a particular thing. Then it is a big intake of breath and a big sigh out.
    Box breathing is fabulous for alleviating the after effects of this and definitely helps me get to sleep.
    Good you feel you are turning the corner and have less pain. Still good to take it easy though.
    Hugs 🍒

  18. So glad you are on the mend. I agree with the shallow breathing, after a bad bout of combined pneumonia and pleurisy it took me a while to breath (what I thought was) normally again only to discover that I wasn’t. We do a breathing technique in yoga which is very similar to the ‘box’ version; I find it also helps me to deal with life’s stresses and strains, so go for it. You may find you have become sensitive to some smells – adhesives, cleaning agents, etc. – that makes breathing cause your chest to hurt or catch your breath – I have and using the breathing technique in clean air helps then too. Hubby has a phrase – FPS – First Person Singular; it’s not being selfish but taking care of yourself first so you can then take care of others. So please do some FPS for a while longer. x

  19. Lovely to hear you’re feeling a little more like yourself. I have learnt box breathing but have to keep reminding myself to do it. Agree with you about not breathing properly when out and about but each time I have tried it, I’ve been so poorly, here comes another round of chest & throat infection/cold/flu which added to asthma and other chronic illnesses makes it a bit harder to breathe. Much love and hugs to you and Mum, great advice from her, Thank you both 💖💖 Nahid xXx 🦋💕

    1. That’s exactly how I am Nahid! Shall definitely try box breathing, anything to relieve the symptoms and help with sleep! Best wishes?x

  20. Such Good News – Barbara so pleased you are turning a corner and slowly returning to full health.

    Strange – box breathing is something I’ve done for a long time. I use it for pain control stress and anxiety. It really does help. I often get that feeling that I’m not inhaling fully and as soon as I do the BB then I feel better.

    And—- giraffes are often talked about in my house ; my sons pregnant girlfriend loves giraffes and it’s going to be the theme for the nursery. I’ve been asked to paint a giraffe on a canvas.

    Ive been enjoying a crafty day today. Love the fact you are keeping an eye on everyone’s lovely art.

    your mum‘s saying makes complete sense but remember your own saying —Travel gently ♥️

  21. So glad to hear you feel a little stronger Barbara. I’m definitely going to try Daves Box breathing technique, it might even help me get some good sleep! Take it easy. Xx

  22. Hi Barbara. So good to read today’s blog and to know that you are improving with each day-even if you have to have a complete rest day sometimes just doing nothing energetic. When you have been so ill it’s allowed. Liking the sound of the breathing excercises-will have to give them a try. I used to take yoga classes and thoroughly enjoyed them. Now mobility problems have taken over but breathing properly was always part of a yoga routine. Hope your mum is doing ok-she must have been quite worried and down whilst you were in hospital. Not easy for us mums when our offspring aren’t well-no matter what age. Love and hugs.

  23. Good to hear you are having a better day & have come up with an exercise to help more improvement over the next few weeks. I shall remember this when I am lying awake in those early dark hours when I really should be asleep.
    Love your mom’s quote, hope she is doing ok as well x

  24. Hi Barbara, so many remember things our mothers said. ” You can’t help others if you don’t help yourself first” was my mothers motto. You have to be fully recovered before you take up your role as our bus driver. So, keep breathing your 4×4 and you soon will be up and going again. As always,warm hugs from Melbourne.

  25. You are so right about the breathing! I thought I was alone in holding my breath. Glad to know I’m not alone. Breathing exercises can be really powerful. There’s one I do when I’m anxious … breathe in counting to 4 & then breathe out for longer. If you get really into it you can double the time you breathe out for. Turns out all that flute playing in my youth was teaching me more than I knew!
    sleep well xxx

  26. Pleased to hear you are improving. I do something similar to help relax, breathe in with a count of four, and breathe out to a count of six. Travel gently. xx

  27. So glad to hear that you continue to improve Barbara. I also tend to hold my breath and shallow breathe when I pass a crowd of people. I have COPD so do breathing exercises similar to the box breathing and it certainly does help. Love and hugs.❤

  28. So pleased to read you feeling brighter although your breathing troubling you. Dr Howard Moseley covers breathing in an episode if just one thing (bbc sounds), you may find it helpful. yes I too hold my breath in the street especially if I hear someone coughing. Love and gentle hugs xx

  29. Omg, how spooky is that, Barbara! I, too, have been practising box breathing just this last week – my daughter has just been visiting (she lives In Lanzarote), and she is a fitness trainer over there and recently had a guest ‘breath therapist’ host a class. She was so impressed with her techniques that she showed me how to do them too, to help with my anxiety. Whoever thought that breathing would be a new fitness fad!!! The breath coach suggested, to help you with the sequencing, that you picture a box in front of you and start your inhalation at the bottom left of the box, and exhale on the up, hold on the top vertical, then exhale on the down, hold on the bottom vertical. Rinse and repeat! It does really work – I know it’s probably more down to distraction technique than the actual breathing, but who cares, I’m less anxious and that’s a bonus! So glad to hear that you are beginning to feel stronger – don’t rush it though, and be prepared for more good days, interspersed with some bad ones – but give yourself time to heal – we will all be here to welcome you back on the bus! Lots of love x ❤️
    Debbie Lee

  30. Also advised when heart goes into race mould as it is helps regulate the beat. Delighted to hear of your health improvements. Onwards and upwards.

  31. Hi Barbara
    I’m always being told by the doctor that I don’t breathe deeply enough will give it a go. I remember speaking to my brother who under went an operation during lung cancer and he was having trouble breathing when he came round the nurse asked him how he felt he said it was like having liquid sunshine poured into his lungs as he could now breathe. Great quote as well. Glad you’re feeling better and on the mend.
    Love Ruth and Jackie xx

  32. So glad to hear you are starting to feel better. Just take things slowly to make sure you recover fully. Thank you for that tip about breathing. I have been aware recently that my breathing has become very shallow, so I will be joining the Box Breathing brigade. Perhaps, when we take to the bus again, we should do a session of breathing before we start. Just a thought. xxx Maggie Craner (Silvercrafter)

  33. Funny that, I was just practicing this earlier today. After my Cancer Op in the observation ward, each Nurse who woke me to do my Blood Pressure etc said I had low Oxygen levels. The 1st Nurse did an ESG to check my heart. The next 10 Nurses just said – Take three really deep breaths. Ah that’s better your Oxygen is back up. How standards change with familiarity eh? Sometimes my breathing is so shallow I suddenly have to take a sharp intake of breath to get some air in my lungs. Hence I was doing these breathing exercises today. Glad to see you are getting better Barb. xxx

  34. while we are counting I suppose we are not worrying! What a simple but good idea shall give it a go. Thanks for sharing. Good to see you feel better. Take care.

  35. Oh I am SO GLAD you are feeling better, Barbara and you sound more cheerful again which is so good.
    As for breathing, during the lockdowns we pretty much kept away from others and started to explore the great outdoors. Out there with all the lovely countryside, wildlife around us and the fresh air we were able to breathe properly – a great feeling! The other day when we were out, I sat on the bench in the sun for a while soaking up the sun, taking in the fresh air, breathing in and out, feeling great.
    Continue feeling better but don’t rush it and keep taking it easy (as you keep saying “one step at a time”). Have a lovely weekend. Hugs and Lots of Love. Alles Liebe ❤

  36. So pleased you have turned the corner, what a feeling that is! I still hold my breathe when someone gets too close and especially if I hear a cough or sneeze. I used to get panic attacks and had to breathe into a paper bag and yes those breathing exercises are really good. Hope you are still taking little steps and not wanting to break into a trot it’s still early days. Love reading the giraffe information, we just accept their construction without even thinking of their breathing complications. Have a good weekend xx

  37. Good morning Barbara, I don’t usually post, but have just watched Barbara’s Bloopers episode 1 on Facebook, from 8 years ago, with no sound (having a cuppa next to husband, he’s asleep)! I haven’t stopped crying with laughter for 5 whole minutes!!!
    You are a real tonic. I read your blog every day and I am on your wavelength, supporting you all the way as you regain your health and and especially your beliefs. Thank you.

  38. Good to hear you’re feeling better and have a smile on your face, Barb. Wise words from your Mum, often we forget about ourselves when keeping an eye on others in our life. Wise words from Dave as well about the breathing exercises. Like many others over the last few years I guess my breathing hasn’t been what it should have been, especially when out and about among others. Still wear my mask when shopping or in enclosed areas, and hold my breath if there coughs and sneezes! The only times I didn’t wear a mask among many people, was at the Clarity Open Days and Retreats, somehow I felt safe in that company among friends. Much like here on your Blog or in the SHAC. I need to focus on my breathing, maybe try Tai Chi (recommended by an old friend of mine) and bring back some balance and calm to my daily routine.
    Take care, Barb and keep making progress on your road to recovery.

  39. So pleased to hear you are doing so much better Barb, nothing like a good lungful of clean air to make you feel good. May just have to try those breathing exercises. Thankfully my neck is somewhat shorter! Take care and stay safe everyone. Bx

  40. Morning Barbara, so glad to hear you are feeling a lot better. I still hold my breath when people are too close to me when out and about!
    I’m trying to convince myself to go to the retail park on my own next week-I can’t believe what a wimp I have become since covid!
    Take care xx

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