Since the time you were in your Mother's belly, breathing is key. Without oxygen your brain, lungs and body would not have developed. Now that you are grown up and have learned a lifetime of skills, habits, and behaviors it can be easy to forget about your breath. Think about it - you breathe even when you are not focused on it. This is a good thing and it allows you to breathe while you sleep, involuntarily. Just like your heart beats, your breath continues.
However, throughout different times in my life I was reminded just how important it is to not just breathe, but to breathe deeply. If you have ever experienced a panic attack, hyperventilated, or choked on something you know how wonderful it feels to be able to draw air down deep into your lungs. As we go through life we can forget how to breathe deeply. Have you ever heard someone talk about shallow breathing or describe someone as a chest breather? That is when you only allow the top part of your lungs to expand. You probably don't realize you are doing it but you are doing yourself a big disservice but not breathing fully.
When I have a headache or am working out I have learned to go deep inside myself when it gets hard. What does this mean? I connect with my body, listen and give it what it needs - more oxygen. As much as it is important to breathe in it is just as important to dispel all the stale air. Try it. Next time you are anxious, nervous, working out or stressed take a deep breath in for the count of 4 seconds. If you can, hold it for 7 to 8 seconds then let it out for 4 seconds. Do that 3 times and check in with yourself. How do you feel? Let me know in the comments. When you don't know what to do, remember that breathing is key!