03 Dec #43 Fatal Conveniences™: Shallow Breathing: Take a Deep Breath
Pay attention to the way you breathe. Take a deep breath in right now. Are your shoulders raising? If so, you’re probably shallow breathing.
Welcome to Fatal Conveniences™
This is a bite-sized segment that parallels The Darin Olien Show. In these segments, we get into society’s Fatal Conveniences™. I define these as the things we may be doing because the world we live in makes us believe we have to. These things save us time and trick us into thinking they’re actually good for us. But it’s those same things that are breaking down our health and the health of the environment around us.
I’ve spent most of my adult life obsessively researching these “conveniences.” On every show, I pick one topic, and we dive into it. My goal is to make you more aware of these traps so that you can push back on them. Remember, it starts with you and the choices you make.
So, if you’re willing to look at your world from a different perspective and make little tweaks that amount to big changes, then this segment is for you.
Shallow breathing keeps us in a perpetual state of stress.
When you’re stressed, your breathing quickens and you inhale shallowly. However, if you breathe this way normally, your body is constantly in a state of stress. Shallow breathing, or thoracic breathing, comes with a laundry list of negative side effects. And you may not even realize you’re doing it.
Instead of thoracic breathing, we all should be diaphragmatically breathing. This long fancy word just means you should be using your diaphragm to draw air into your body. Watching a newborn is a perfect example of diaphragmatic breathing. They draw air through their nose into their lungs, and their belly expands. As they exhale, their belly contracts. Try doing that now. See the difference?
So besides stressing us out, what other harm is shallow breathing causing? Well, it limits our functional movement and muscular balance for starters. It also messes with our immune system and metabolism and can even cause muscle and joint pain and stiffness. But don’t worry. In this segment, I break down how to tell the difference between shallow and diaphragmatic breathing. And I give you ways to practice how to quit shallow breathing for good.
Other info in this segment:
- I reveal the reasons behind my obsession with fatal conveniences
- The definitions of thoracic and diaphragmatic breathing
- How to tell if you’re shallow breathing
- How many breaths you should be taking per minute
- PTSD and breathing
- How you can retrain your body to breathe using your diaphragm
Links & Resources:
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Darin: It’s that time of the week for another fatal convenience. This is a bite-size segment that addresses some of society’s fatal conveniences and the steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of them. I define fatal conveniences as the things we may be doing because the world we live in makes us believe we have to, tap water, shampoo, sunglasses, food. I dive into the hidden truths behind some of our everyday choices that could not only be harming us but even killing us, so let’s dive in.
Darin: Hello, everybody. Welcome to the show. Another edition of Fatal Convenience. We are getting some great momentum from all of the fatal conveniences. The reality that our reality has been altered without our best interest in mind, but the genesis of the show was my father in the ’80s, late ’80s, early ’90s was suffering from chemical sensitivities disorder, and it was the first time I had ever heard of someone having cognitive, physical, emotional changes detrimental to themselves from fragrances, from deodorants, shampoos, carpets. My dad suffered from this. He couldn’t function, he would blank out, he would fog out, he couldn’t think. And this was a highly intellectual person, a professor, a counselor, a couple of master’s degrees, and my dad was debilitated by the modern-day inconveniences, the fatal conveniences that led him to start drinking again and ultimately passed away from alcoholism. So that created this part in me and seeing the reality, seeing the world differently, and realizing that companies, that products, that personal care products to everything in between can largely affect us and affect our health and affect our endocrine system, affect our ability to effectively have a great life. Fatal conveniences largely are dedicated to my father who suffered directly as a result of many of the fatal conveniences in our society. So about 17 years ago, he passed away from alcoholism and was isolated more than ever because of these fatal conveniences because of paint, carpet cleaners, fire retardant in sofas, colognes, shampoos, laundry detergents, that was my dad suffering every day from that stuff. So today, we are going into the fatal convenience of shallow breathing. If you haven’t heard my episode with Patrick McKeown, this sets up this fatal convenience perfectly because this is all about shallow breathing, how detrimental shallow breathing is and that could be looked at as thoracic breathing, upper respiratory thoracic breathing. If you’re taking a deep breath in now, take a deep breath in. If your shoulders are raising, you’re not diaphragmatically breathing. You’re breathing from your upper respiratory, a stress response, and you’re not breathing correctly. You breathe correctly upon birth, and now we have to get back to and re-train ourselves to breathe correctly again. So the fatal convenience is that we just breathe. We’re unconscious. We’re running around mostly stressed out especially this year. And the more thoracic upper respiratory breathing we do, the more we are actually staying and remaining in stress. One of the greatest things you can do for yourself and your life and your health and your stress levels is learning to breathe. So if you haven’t again checked out the Patrick McKeown nose breathing episode, then you need to check that out and his book, The Oxygen Advantage, and there’s a lot of advantages to that. So basically, when you shallow breathe, shallow from your chest, your thoracic, upper respiratory area, and largely then with your mouth and find yourself holding your breath. You’re getting less and less air, less and less nitrogen, less than less oxygen, and just hold your breath over time, it’s one of the greatest things on the planet to keep life moving forward and creating life, and that is of oxygen. So when you’re not breathing consciously, and you’ve trained your body to keep breathing from a stressful point of view, then you’re just increasing your stress response. And then that sends out a cascade of stresses in your body caused by the shallow breathing. So you could be stressed, and then shallow breathe. You could be shallow breathing and cause your body stress. And most people, I just worked with an athlete today, an Olympian, and I was teaching him how to turn on the body and activate it neurologically. And then I realized this guy’s never been able to know how to breathe. Like this is a perfect specimen, super athlete. And I said, take a deep breath in and his shoulders just went to his ears, and he had no idea how to turn on his diaphragm. And in about 10 seconds, we showed him how to breathe in from your diaphragm, and then breathe that up into the chest. And we’ll go into that about what you can do about that stuff. But shallow breathing just makes the stress response more, and then you develop a habit, and your body develops a habit to stay in that stress response based on the kind of breathing you are doing, which then triggers your cortisol, triggers your mind, and locks you into that routine. So the long term shallow breathing is where we have some serious consequences all the way down to what the mitochondria are doing. But then there are certain amounts of lymphocytes or white blood cells that are there to defend the body from all kinds of invading organisms. And it lowers the amount of these proteins that signal the immune system. So, therefore, the more shallow you are, the more stressed out you are, the less disease-fighting immune cells will be able and capable of defending your body. So just think about that for a second, running around in the COVID area. Number one, shallow breathing, you’re not receiving the vital oxygen you need. And oxygen, we know, oxygen-rich body systems don’t allow for bacteria, virus, or fungus to thrive in so you’re lowering your oxygen levels and at the same time, you’re conditioning yourself to this stress response that is lowering, absolutely lowering your actual immune system that’s there to defend your body. So what we need to do is shift that kind of system into diaphragmatic breathing. I’m just going to cut to the chase right now. If you are in a safe place where you can do this, put your hands just below your belly button, and take a deep breath in through your nose and lightly push your hand out as you take a breath in. The first response should be the stomach getting pushed out. Now women and all guys, if you’re trying to keep your abs flat and flexed and all of that stuff, largely, that is keeping you stressed, let that out. Let that stomach out and let that diaphragm fill up from the lower belly button, and then fill that up and then the chest. And so if you find your chest expanding first, then you know you’re not diaphragmatic breathing and your stress breathing. So there’s a lot of different ways through fear, shame, sitting, trauma, accidents, all of that stuff could turn on the sympathetic response of breathing, and largely shut off your ability to diaphragmatically breathe again. So I have a lot of research in the show notes. And there’s some incredible science behind this if you run down the rabbit hole of shallow breathing as it relates to muscle and joint pain. I’m not going to get into that right now, but it is unbelievable how all of these things, the results that demonstrate the importance of diaphragmatic breathing on functional movement, the body to increase oxygen, increase the immune system, increase muscular balance, increase motor control skills, and as well as improved physiological responses, all across from metabolism because when the stress response is on, you’re not breaking down food efficiently at all, and that is a big concern over a long period of time because obviously, you’re not receiving what it is that you actually need from the nutrients because you’re in this cortisol freaked out state. If you’re getting lost already between thoracic breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, basically, we need to slow down. The Yogis and everything else have been telling us through all ancient religions to shallow breathe, slow down and develop the slow controlled nasal breathing in the nose and exhale two times as long on average on the exhale. So that slows everything down and then switches you from the sympathetic poor response and fighter flight to the parasympathetic, higher response of higher performance, better performance, higher oxygen levels, better immune system, this type of practice. If you take away just this one thing in the nose, just like Patrick McKeown said, in the nose, out the mouth, nice low control, don’t press out or push out or squeeze your stomach, just in the nose, and then at a rate of two times your inhalation, slow that breath on the exhale. And that largely will take you in the direction that you need to go to break all of this down, slow breathing, slow breathing, slow breathing. This optimizes ventilation. This increases gas exchange, the arterial oxygenation, maximizes the vagal tone. This is the limbic deep system in the body so it dampens that and maintains that parasympathetic response and that sympathetic balance, and optimizes cardiorespiratory system, and improves on that gas exchange, of course, the oxygen levels as well as allows for the body to perform better physically and lowers the stress level mentally. And according to many studies and many reviews, autonomically optimized respiration would appear to be the band of about 6 to 10 breaths per minute, that’s really what you’re looking for. You’re looking for the band between 6 to 10 breaths per minute. If you’re breathing shallow, if you’re breathing faster than that, you can almost guarantee that you are in a fight or flight. In the present study, they’ve investigated that diaphragmatic slow breathing as a single intervention method for sustained attention improvement. So kids, ADD, do some light breathing with your kids. And by the way, their depression will lower. There are several studies I cited with PTSD, the improvements of almost all cases of PTSD improving just by slow breathing, obviously lowering anxiety, lowering depression. So here’s what I want you to do. These are the things that we can do, catch yourself from a thoracic point of view. Before each meal, I want you to put your hands below your belly button and push out your belly and increase your diaphragmatic response. And then secondly, it fills your chest. Okay, so before each meal upon waking upon going to sleep, that’s five different times, you can practice diaphragmatic breathing, and this will exponentially improve your life, your health, your mental outlook, your physiological response, your metabolism, your stress response and lower your cortisol, increasing the different aspects that get affected by the stress response and improve your digestion which will improve your muscle tone, and it will improve your oxygenation, which is one of the greatest defense mechanisms against viruses, bacteria degeneration, and it will just make you feel better. You will be happier around the people that you love. Do it with your spouse, do it with your friends, and this will absolutely improve your life. Again, if you haven’t listened to my episode with Patrick McKeown, listen to that right after this, and you will improve your life by nose breathing and understanding how to breathe again from your diaphragm. And then opening up all aspects of your life and your health and your improvement towards being a better human. Okay, that’s breathing in a nutshell, in a Baruka’s nutshell. All right, I love you everyone. Enjoy the breathing, enjoy the exercises, improve your life. I love that most of these things that you can do are free. And you can do just by making the choice of doing them. Please do this one, you will be a happier, better and more powerful human as a result. And remember, I love you.
Darin: Thanks for tuning in everyone. I hope that left you feeling inspired to take a closer look at the everyday choices you’re making and how they could be impacting your health and even planet. If you want to learn more about life’s fatal conveniences, head over to fatalconveniences.com. You can sign up for the exclusive access to Fatal Conveniences episodes, news, insights, and more. And all this great stuff gets sent each week straight to your inbox, making it really easy. Now, that’s a convenience without the negative side effects. It only takes a few seconds to join. Just fill in the form and take that amazing step towards making better choices. Remember, small changes can have big impact. So, keep diving my friends, keep diving. And if you haven’t had a chance to check out the interview, I released earlier on the week, here’s what you missed:
Patrick: When you think of a kid’s intelligence, it’s often determined by what they achieve academically, but nobody is considering the sleep quality of these kids and a child with high intelligence but with poor sleep quality, they’re not going to do well academically. And yet, this kid then will have self-esteem issues. They probably know that there’s something lacking, but they don’t quite know what it is, and that was me. And it’s not just your sleep that’s affected, your mood is affected, my breathing was affected, my ability to partake in sports was affected. Sometimes people say that I’m here kind of taking pity on myself. No, no, not at all. I was fortunate enough. We now know there’s 25% to 50% of study children in the same boat.
Darin: This episode is produced by my team at Must Amplify, an audio marketing company that specializes in giving a voice to a brand and making sure the right people hear it. If you would like or are thinking about doing a podcast or even would like a strategy session to add your voice to your brand in a powerful way, go to www.mustamplify.com/darin. That’s www.mustamplify.com/darin.