Published Tuesday, May 7, 2019 by Tifinie






You might already think you know how to breathe, but do you really?  Often times, a bad presentation or interview can be caused by the loss of control of the rhythm of one’s breath.  It’s what keeps our voice steady and empowered to speak with confidence; and when our confidence is threatened, we tend to start breathing high in our chest and tightening our diaphragms, restricting our ability to take deep breaths and resulting in short, choppy sentences.  This can be prevented with breathing exercises that encourage natural breathing in a way that will expand your diaphragm. 



How To Breathe

  1. Inhale through your nose in a semi-slow and always steady manner. Let the air fill into your belly rather than your chest.  The air should fill into your torso as if it were being poured into a cup, filling from the bottom up into your chest.  Make sure you relax your stomach muscles to get the most use out of your diaphragm.
  2. Pause for moment, then gently release the air out through your mouth.



A Breathing Exercise

Practice breathing lower in your torso in the area of your stomach just above your belly button and below the bottom of your ribcage.  This is where your diaphragm is and that is what controls your breath.  Filling air into your chest first will stunt your lungs’ ability to fill with air causing you to be short of breath.  If you fill the air into your stomach, though, it can expand up into your chest allowing you to take a full, deep breath.  Follow these steps regularly to work on creating better breathing habits, which you’ll be able to rely on during your next presentation or interview.

  • Lie flat on your back on the ground. Rest one hand gently on your chest while resting the other hand on your belly at the base of your rib cage where your diaphragm is.
  • Relax your body and let your breathing come naturally. With each breath, feel tension release from your stomach muscles until your diaphragm is very relaxed and flexible.
  • Now, relax and work on controlling your breath. As you breath in, your stomach should expand out towards the ceiling (or the sky if you’re outside) while your chest should barely move.  This is how you check to see if you are breathing using the correct muscles.  Breathe in steadily through your nose and out slowly through your mouth.  Try to breath so that the hand on your belly moves up and down as you breathe, while the hand on your chest barely moves if at all.
  • Continue to do this for as long as you can and work towards this becoming a habit. The more you get used to breathing like this, the stronger your diaphragm and breathing habits will become. 
  • Repeat this process frequently. If you can, wake up every morning and start your day with breathing exercises.  Also, consider ending your day with breathing exercises as well.  The more often you practice something, the better you will become at it.  The better you become at controlling your breathing, the better you will be able to control your breathing when you start to panic.  Following these steps will encourage a healthier and happier diaphragm.



Other Things to Consider


**Tightening of your diaphragm can cause you to shorten your breath and consequently your sentences.  If you find yourself starting to hyperventilate during a presentation or interview, remember to slow down your breath; take a few calm and deep breaths into your belly as you feel your diaphragm expand and take back control of your breathing.


**Don’t eat too much before a big speech or presentation.  Your diaphragm sits right on top of your stomach and if your stomach is too full your breathing can be affected.  Eating too much can prevent your diaphragm from opening up to its full potential and limiting your air intake when you need it the most.  If you can, eat a light meal or try to wait until after your event to eat – not to imply that you should be hungry during your presentation, but just keep in mind the impact a full meal has on your body to ensure that your diaphragm isn’t put under any extra stress during your big moment.


Work on these skills little-by-little on your own so that when one of those big days comes around, you’re ready to work the kinks out right away rather than starting at the beginning.  Breathing exercises will help you in many aspects of your day-to-day life.  You might be surprised how easily something can take your breath away, but with these techniques, you’ll always be able to catch it again. 









Sal sells sails at Seaside’s Sloppy Sails, slowly selling sails sold solely to sail slowly.

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