Do you breathe as efficiently as you could?

If we are healthy and happy, our breathing is naturally fuller and deeper;  if we have a medical condition or are anxious or depressed, we naturally tend to over- or under-breathe, or our breathing may become shallow or irregular. We may even find ourselves holding our breath - usually at times of crisis or shock, when we most need oxygen.

The net effect of these breathing irregularities, including over-breathing , is a decrease in the amount of oxygen available to the body.

Most of us are unaware of changes to our breathing, unless we have developed a related medical condition. Many of us have taken on inefficient breathing habits while reacting to stressors at different stages of our life, and in fact never return to optimal breathing.

Despite the fact that breathing is a natural process, traumas or continuous stress can inhibit our breathing mechanism, often even from birth. Over time, this can lead to various levels of oxygen starvation.

Here's a quick breathing assessment that you can do on your own.

Note: Over-breathing refers here to breathing which results in carbon dioxide deficiency in the blood. A prime cause of this is forcing the exhale. Full, healthy breathing results in a perfect balance of both oxygen and carbon dioxide.