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Breath control

Breath control is a great technique because of how accessible it is. It can be used in almost all circumstances. Doesn’t matter if you’re in an argument, if you’re running, or almost anything else you could be doing.

If you want more energy (to become more lively/excited) try breathing in for 2 seconds, pausing for 2 seconds, breathing out for 2 seconds, then immediately begin breathing in again. I think this increases the oxygen in our system, which results in more energy. Be careful of becoming light head. Experiment slowly with this one.

If you want less energy (to become more calm/relaxed), try breathing in for 3 seconds, not pausing, breathing out for 5 seconds, pause for 5 seconds, repeat. I think this lowers the oxygen in our system, which starts moving us toward a more sedated state.

You can try breathing really slowly, really quickly, at different depths, etc. Generally speaking, the faster you breathe, the more energy, and the slower you breathe, the less energy.

A note on depth...

If you breathe all the way out, you’ll notice it requires you to squeeze your abs and diaphragm to keep your lungs that empty. If you release that squeeze, your lungs will return to their resting state. In the above exercises, when I said to breathe out, I meant breathe out to that resting state, and not beyond it. So breathe out to that resting state.

If you breathe all the way in, really pushing your body, trying to maximize how much air is in your lungs, you’ll find that requires tension to hold, too. When we breathe more fully, we go to roughly 90% lung capacity. You should reach the point just before it starts becoming hard to breathe in any more.

You can of course experiment with truly breathing out and in to their maximums, but for the sake of simplicity, I think the above two techniques are a good place to start.

A final note – In the beginning it’s ok to count the seconds, but once you’re used to how it feels do it without the counting. When you stop focusing on counting, you get to focus more on how your body feels, and from there you can make subtle adjustments to the speed and depth of your breathing, in order to produce different results. I'm not a doctor, health professional, yadda yadda yadda. Lol.

If you have health conditions that could make these practices dangerous, then do them with caution and consider asking your doctor beforehand. On a personal note, it's frustrating that regular people have to give each other disclaimers. I hope one day people stop assuming that things they read online are coming from a "trustworthy source". I'm just some guy who happened to spend 10 years studying and experimenting with self improvement techniques and wants to share his perspectives. I'm your friendly neighborhood self improvement guy, haha. Enjoy breathing! :)

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