Why Do You Hold Your Breath?

Very often in your new expat life, you will hold your breath when waiting in anticipation for something, usually when you are stressed and even when you are anxious. You may not even realize that you are doing this, but it is often the body’s automatic reaction to certain stressors in your life. As an expat you will be challenged by all the changes in your life.

You are often not aware that you are actually holding your breath, it is not something that you can control or simply stop doing. As you inhale, your muscles contract and work to control the air that is being forced into your lungs. When you breathe out, this is the body’s way of relaxing these muscles. When you tense up due to stress or anxiety, it becomes harder for the muscles to contract and relax in a normal way, often making the simple act of breathing in and out seem impossible. This has led to the body automatically stopping the action of inhaling and exhaling, without your body even registering that this is happening! 

Why Do You Hold Your Breath?

You may experience your body’s automatic response when you hold your breath during something new and exciting. However,  you may find that you are actually stressed, anxious or even fearful about the situation you are in. When moving abroad, your focus is on something else entirely and you may not notice when automatic bodily functions like breathing begin to get a bit erratic. The expat experience can sometimes make you feel stressed, some may find they are holding their breath!

Connection Between Fear And Breath Holding

When you experience any emotions related to fear, you may find that you begin to automatically hold your breath. This is due to our fight, freeze or flight responses that are ingrained into our DNA. When you experience an event that may automatically make you scared, your body needs to measure whether the right response is to run away, fight or simply freeze in place. Different people will have different responses based on their mindsets, personality and a number of other factors. As your body assesses this immediate threat, it stops automated functions like breathing, particularly if your response is to freeze. While this is the body’s automatic response to external stimuli, it is incredibly important to make sure you control your breathing, even in times when you may be scared! 

How Can Holding Our Breath Impact Our Health?

While holding your breath is often an automated bodily response, it does not mean that this is good for you. When you hold your breath, you are not providing your lungs with the oxygen that your body needs to survive. This means that the oxygen supply to the brain will be limited which can have severe consequences on your health. When you hold your breath unknowingly, you may find that you lose concentration as your brain functions lessen, often leading to rash decisions that you may not have made if you were breathing properly. When you hold your breath, you will find that your body and brain are not functioning optimally. 

What Are The Effects Of Holding Your Breath On The Body?

When you hold your breath, you may find that your heart begins to beat faster in reaction to not getting enough air. Your body needs oxygen from the air you breathe to survive and without it, your brain’s response will be to panic. One of the side effects of holding your breath is that it may cause you to make irrational decisions that could cause you bodily harm. If your breathing does not continue shortly after it has been held, you may also faint! 

How Are Brains Affected When a Person Holds Their Breath For Too Long?

When you starve your brain of oxygen, it begins to shut down unnecessary functions. This often leads to you feinting in an attempt for your body to regulate normal functions. The impact of holding your breath on your health should be considered and if you have found that your body tends to do this, we here at Breath Hub have a few solutions that you can look into! 

How to Stop Holding Your Breath?

Though holding your breath may be an automated response from the body, there are ways to instill better breathing practices and stop this from happening. The following are a few tips to stop holding your breath. 

Yoga and Meditation

Yoga and meditation are two things that can help to regulate your breathing and relieve your mind of stress and anxiety you may not even be aware of. Yoga and meditation are great stress relievers and can help your body to better control the breaths that you take. 

Breathing Exercises

Instilling good breathing exercises can be an important way to reduce the number of times you automatically hold your breath. Breathing techniques help the body to better regulate and adjust breathing habits, ensuring that even when placed under stress, the body’s automatic response is not to stop the inhaling and exhaling of air.

Go to Breathing exercise

To find a simple breathing exercise that can help you to start breathing  again the way your body needs it.