If you’re a chest breather, you’re missing out on the single best way of activating your parasympathetic state. This is the rest-and-digest nervous system, and this is where you should be spending the vast majority of your day.
Chest breathing is shallow, inefficient, and is typically what you’d be reverting to when stressed and angry.
It’s also not the best way to brace the core when you’re squatting heavy, so generally you should be pretty much avoiding this form of breathing entirely.
To improve your breathing, try the following method. It happens to be one of my favourites, and I use it throughout the day to lower stress and improve focus.
The 4-4-6-2 Method
- Breathe in to the diaphragm through the back of the throat for 4 seconds
- Hold for 4 seconds
- Breathe out slowly through the back of the throat for 6 seconds
- Hold empty breath for 2 or more seconds
- Repeat this over 2 more times
If you’re trying this, and feeling like you’re about to die, that’s great. If you can ignore the panic, the brain will adapt to become calmer. Over time, that’s going to play a huge part in lowering stress. Because it’s all down to perception.
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