Put your right hand on your belly and your left hand on your chest. Take a very deep breath, as deep as you can. When you breathe in very deeply:
Do you raise your rib cage?
Do you raise your shoulders?
Do your neck muscles bulge out?
Do you experience a little or a lot of the following chest breathing problems?
· Panic attack
· High blood pressure
· Voice troubles
· Chest pain
· Asthma-like symptoms of wheezing
· Sleep disturbance
· Blurred hazy vision
· Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
· Chronic muscle tension
· Cold hands and feet
· Irregular heartbeat
· Constant sighing or gasping
· Poor concentration or focus
· Yawning episodes
· Mental confusion
· Getting sick more often
· Poor digestion
· Tightness in the chest
· Overreacting to stress
· Feeling of not being able to take a big easy breath and/or
· Can't take a deep breath or can't get over the hump as it is often called
· Gas, constipation, or diarrhea
· Tired yet cannot sleep
· Feeling on edge
· Chest pain
Then you used your chest too much to breathe.
Try it again with a quick breath (sniff) through your nose. Did the hand on your belly move MORE than your chest? If not then you used your high chest too much to breathe.
- High chest breathing often brings a sense of struggle to breathing, a behavior that should otherwise seem automatic, effortless, and easy.
- High chest breathing often triggers muscle posturing, which can result in tension and pain, even headache.
- High chest breathing is inefficient, labor intensive, and can make breathing seem difficult, even exhausting.
- High chest breathing requires faster breathing, which can make it seem like you're running a race, and makes you anxious.
- High chest breathing makes completion of exhale difficult, and may make you feel breathless, and worried about getting the next breath.
- High chest breathing makes you feel confined, restricted, and trapped, setting the stage for making you feel defensive and insecure.
- High chest breathing "requires" that you "take" a breath! Intentional breathing, conscious or unconscious, interferes with basic reflexes.
- High chest breathing is "controlled breathing." One must most often be present for the breath as it comes on its own accord.
- High chest breathing may quickly deregulate body chemistry