Everyone can do it and everyone does it: breathing. Breathing is very important to you, but did you know that if you breathe incorrectly, this can be very harmful for your health?

People with a burnout or a depression often experience a lot of stress. As a result, their breathing and heart rate is often too high, even in rest: in the office, on the couch while watching movies or while reading a book. You can imagine that this is not healthy: it is hard to stay focused, it makes you feel uneasy and also physically it is not healthy. Your body will feel like you are doing an intensive bike ride while you are actually at rest. This consumes energy and has all kinds of physical and mental consequences, such as: shortness of breath, agitation, hyperventilation, anxiety, headache, back pain, fatigue, concentration problems and pressure on the chest. Of course you want to prevent this. Lucky you! Just by being more aware of your breathing. Is this the solution to everything? ? No, but certainly very valuable.

Breathing and running therapy
I am a running therapist and run with people who face these problems. The first time it is a bit awkward, but I always start the running sessions in rest and let the runners focus on their breathing. Especially people who have no experience with meditation have to get used to these breathing exercises.

The assignment:

Stand still for two minutes and …

breathe in through your nose

breathe out through your nose

pause

repeat.

It is very easy, everyone can do it. We introduce peace within ourselves before running and get rid of all the stress. Then we start the training, which can vary from person to person. During the run we keep focusing on this way of breathing.

It is important to breathe easy and to keep the heart rate under control while running. Do you get out of breath? Then run slower! You will last longer, keep your energy for the rest of the day and it will be more relaxed. Breathe in through your nose and try to breathe out through your nose. Extend your exhalation. If you cannot breathe through your nose, try to make a nozzle of your mouth and blow out.

At the end of the training we do the same breathing exercise again, but then for five minutes. This too, can feel quite awkward, certainly in the beginning. Doing nothing for five minutes can be experienced as a long time. It is important to do this because you do not want to feel the high (er) heartbeat that sports causes the rest of the day. This also ensures that running is really a moment with a beginning and an end, that gives a nice and satisfied feeling. I therefore encourage you to do this in your running training!

What else can you do?
Are do you often feel uneasy, have poor concentration or are you very tired? Then try to count your breaths for one minute at rest (once in and out counts as 1 time). Are you between 8 and 12 breaths per minute? Then you are okay. Do you have more? Then there is work to be done! Fortunately, this is fairly simple, but it does require attention and focus. Do a breathing exercise once or twice a day for ten minutes:

breathe in through your nose

breathe out through your nose

pause

repeat.

This exercise can also be used perfectly in all kinds of situations: the traffic jam, a difficult conversation at work, at bedtime or just in the bathroom ☺

There is much more to tell about breathing. Do you want to know more? Bram Bakker and Koen de Jong wrote a book about this: Relief. Or leave a comment with your questions, I will gladly answer them!

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Goudje

Running therapist / Work- and Organization psychologist. Founder of Run Free Groningen (link: www.runfreegroningen.nl) I use running as a treatment method for depression and burn-out. With my blog I want to inspire you to also exercise, especially for your mental health. I like sports, but also traveling, wine and good food.

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