It might be an unusual greeting, but if answered sincerely, you would get more information on how that person is actually feeling.
Our breathing is one of the chief gauges to how we are feeling; all it requires is paying attention to the rhythm of our breath.
If your breath is choppy as you are holding your breath, it reflects the stress you might be under or if it is slow and barely perceptible you might be struggling to take a deep breath in because you are lacking in energy.
I have been in both places, depending on the circumstances in my life. I am aware that I hold my breath in when I am at the start of speaking to group, the exhale gets stuck in my throat. My words come out squeaky and shaky.
Or if I sit at the computer and respond to an email, write a piece or get a burst of excitement from a Facebook post, I am aware I hold my breath, even for a millisecond.
And there are those times when I am exhausted, when I can barely summon the energy to inhale, when I do, it is shallow and barely visible.
Or if depressed, inhaling takes too much of an effort.
Compulsive sighing and yawning often means your body is not getting enough oxygen; the body’s mechanisms to draw oxygen in.
Why is this information about breathing so important?
Because our physical and mental health depends on a regular pattern of breathing!
Just about every adult has irregular breathing patterns due to fast paced lifestyles and living in the future and past.
Babies and children breathe steadily and smoothly deep into their bellies, their world is in the here and now, while adults are focused on the future.
When your head is the future or the past, the breathing reveals whatever you are thinking, a worrying or sad thought, an exciting or scary future plan, pondering a mistake having made.
When present your breath takes on a different shape, it magically smoothens and deepens, it is difficult to be anxious when you are fully present.
Conscious breathing is the act of being aware of your breath, this brings you into the present moment very much like being caught in a time machine. Press the Breathe button and you are hurled into the Now.
Children do not need to pay attention to their breath as their breathing has not yet been altered by life’s stresses.
Let us look at the affect breathing has on the physical body.
Imagine how our cells of our body must feel, as they wait in anticipation for a fresh supply of oxygen that comes sporadically.
How do you think your cells feel when they are working like Trojans to renew, replenish and divide requiring one of the principle elements, oxygen, and it comes intermittently?
Our breathing is not on most of our radar’s unless we have a cold or a chronic breathing condition. It is when breathing becomes challenging our attention is drawn to our breath; sometimes by then it is too late.
Our lungs suffer as well, as does the diaphragm.
The lungs spend much of their days being underused; the majority of us only use the top front part of our lungs when breathing. Which means our primary respiratory muscle, the diaphragm atrophies, making it impossible to take deep breaths.
To free up the diaphragm deep breaths is the remedy, like a child.
The physical body is not the only casualty of irregular breathing patterns, the emotional body is equally affected.
Emotions and mental chatter are amplified when the breathing is irregular, triggering anxious states.
It is only when the breath is smooth and even, the mind and emotions are released from the strains of stress.
Telltale signs that your breathing is irregular:
If you are doing all the talking while conversing with your friend.
If you are sitting in front of computer for much of the day.
If you are eating while you are doing something else.
If you are looking at your phone incessantly.
If you are thinking too much.
If you’re chronically tired or stressed.
If you are rushing from one event to another.
While modern lifestyles can be considered the culprit, the habits we learned from childhood play a role as well.
Habitual breathing patterns are learned; we were born with the capacity to breathe deeply and regularly, however due to the strains of life our breathing patterns adapt by constricting the areas around the lungs, rib cage, and bellies due to underuse.
If you don’t use it, you will lose it.
Recipe: Deepening your breath.
Take deep breaths regularly and frequently.
Breaths, which fill and empty your lungs entirely.
Breaths, where you can feel your rib cage and bellies expand and contract.
Breaths where the inhale and exhale are even.
Breathe consciously as often and regularly as possible, finding moments through out your day to take 4 deep breaths.
You get behind the wheel of your car, before you turn the key.
You wake up before you get out of bed.
You sit down to start your work.
You sit down to eat your meals.
Make this your priority, you body and emotional wellbeing will thank you.
Ask yourself’ “how am I breathing?”
The answer will be the clue to how you are feeling.