…was a lyric taken from The Police, a 1980’s rock band and it’s become a bit of an anthem tragically associated with The Black Lives Matter movement and separately, within the general population with reference to COVID 19 and the pandemic this year
Speaking of breathing, I spoke recently with Buteyko (n. boo-tayko) breathing method educator Joel Jelen who like Pain Point Coach helps companies and organisations with their Wellbeing at Work programmes. We discussed how more businesses have come to regard offering wellness at work initiatives as essential rather than a luxury.
Joel said: “It’s true that, certainly over the last 12 months and especially over the last six!
“I remember in the initial stages of Reset’s evolution as a business, the likes of ‘I breathe every day, and so what can you say that will help me breathe any better?’ got rolled out frequently when we approached companies to ascertain interest in our workshops. There was a fair bit of fun being poked at Reset even though we’ve never set out to actually sell breathing techniques, an expertise of mine.
“It’s always been much more about the hidden aspects of dysfunctional breathing that’s commonplace in and out of the workplace that Reset wanted to raise awareness of. So many more businesses now get it. For example, up until a year ago, few people amongst our target audiences knew that mouth breathing, audible breathing during rest, regular sighing, sniffing, yawning with big breaths, large breaths prior to talking and lots of upper chest & visible movement create stress in the body and large amounts of it.
“Reset’s focus is to help people control their breathing, reduce stress, enhance their mood, overall mental health and productivity at both work and in life. In particular, on mood, changes in your breathing pattern have a huge negative effect on your mood.”
Joel explained how we can we measure our breathing to assess how optimal or dysfunctional it is via what he calls the Control Pause which he describes as a comfortable breath hold…
Take a small silent breath in through your nose
Allow a small silent breath out through your nose
Hold your nose with your fingers preventing air from entering your lungs
Time the number of seconds until you feel the first distinct desire to breathe in.
“A CP of 40 seconds signifies you are close to being an optimal breather but most people score between 15 and 20 seconds which demonstrates the fact that there’s a huge opportunity to enhance your mental wellness by increasing your score with daily commitment.”
There are multiple methods within Buteyko to help improve our breathing, our productivity & quality of life. Here are a few hints and tips that Joel shared with me…
Increase your control pause to a minimum of 40 seconds
Switch to/maintain nasal breathing at all times
Stop big breathing
Take physical exercise (‘efficient’ nose breathing only)
Practice breathing exercises to reduce breathing volume* to normal – see below
*The best way to understand ‘breathing volume’ is to experience it!
Joel also recommended a breathing exercise to practice that is safe for everyone regardless of any compromising medical conditions.
Many small breath holds:
Exhale through the nose
Pinch your nose with fingers and thumb
Breath hold for 3-5 seconds
Resume breathing for ten seconds
Repeat for up to six repetitions
This is especially useful for stopping a panic attack.