“Breathe, breathe in the air
don’t be afraid to care”

Pink Floyd – Breathe

Take a deep breath…..keep going……keep going……keep going……..and breathe out.  How did that feel?  For years, my breath would stutter on the inhalation, and I would run out of breath quickly on the exhalation.  As far back as I remember I have had shallow breath (the urge to complete “As far back as I remember” with the Goodfellas quote), but I had never consciously noticed it.  All I knew was that during any physical exertion I ran out of breath quickly and had difficulty catching my breath.  I could never sing much in the bands I have been in as I would run out of breath mid lyric.

I was sat in a session with my Counsellor and she suddenly said, “you hold your breath a lot”.  This came as news to me, but for the week following the session, I noticed that she was right.  I have mentioned before my use of the excellent Headspace mindfulness app.  Each of the sessions starts with deep breaths and prior to my breathing revelation, I found this difficult.

My Counsellor explained that people with anxiety hold their breath a lot as part of the fight or flight mechanism.  Anxiety sufferers breath into their upper lungs instead of into their lower lungs.  I’ve always found that during an anxiety attack I have trouble breathing.  My Counsellor asked me to practice my breath with deep breaths in and out.

Have you ever stopped and thought about your breathing?  It’s odd, right? I used the multitude of animations shared online to try and regulate my breathing. Then, whilst watching The Dark Knight Rises, I came up with an idea.  I would get one of those sports breathing masks for Christmas.

It arrived and I spent the first few days just wearing it for a short length of time.  I slowly built the time up.  Then I started wearing it on the exercise bike, once again starting with short bursts of time and building up to the entire 25-minute ride, followed by raising the difficulty level on the mask.

Yesterday, something weird happened and this has caused me to write this post.  I kept getting light-headed, not in a bad way, just noticeable.  I was confused at first and then I had a weird feeling in my chest.  Suddenly it occurred to me that I was breathing much deeper than I have since my Counsellor noticed the shallow breathing.  I was light-headed from breathing properly.  I’m still in the stage where I am noticing breathing, but I hope this lessens over time.

Breathing is something I took for granted, but not anymore and it has meant that I can now do the opening song of Hamilton much better now too.  I also look like Bane!