Continuing to Breathe through this ongoing pandemic

A year and a half in and still we struggle to breathe

How are you handling all your big pandemic feelings? Are you still using caution? Or do you find the summer sun and great outdoors has you hiding less and less behind a mask? New variants are using the summer travel season to make their way around our great nation and it appears no one is showing up to help you breathe through this pulmonary attack!

Frustration continues to rise all around. Everyone has a strong opinion about EVERYTHING!

  • To get vaccinated or not 
  • To wear masks or not 
  • To Travel or not 
  • To live with caution or throw it to the wind
  • To trust or not trust our medical system
  • To believe science or not 

No matter where you stand on these issues, the only truth I see is that they are all here to stay. At least for the unforeseen future. 

Truthfully I’m nervous about this fall. I see spikes starting to happen all around me. As someone who helps people to breathe, I find the attack on our lungs to be a huge problem. 

The Nose is for Breathing, The Mouth is for Eating

Your nose is the amazing filter built right into your body. When you breathe through your nose you are filtering out harmful toxins in the environment. Your nasal cavity also produces nitric oxide (NO). NO increases blood flow through your lungs and boosts oxygen levels in the blood. When you breathe through your nose NO goes directly into your lungs. Breathing through the nose produces higher oxygen into your bloodstream and helps you feel healthier and have more endurance and the ability to fight off more disease. 

We are terrible about breathing through our noses. Many are breathing through their mouths and taking in toxins that should be filtered out. Our mouths are made to take in and absorb, so this creates a real problem. 

The role of nitric oxide in the body

NO is a natural gas produced by almost every cell in your body and has three principal actions.

  1. Dilates the pulmonary arteries and increases blood flow through the lungs
  2. Dilates the airways and increases oxygen delivered to the lungs and blood
  3. Inhibits the growth and spread of disease in the lungs. 

There is a belief that NO has a direct antiviral effect. You can read more about that here.

View your nose as your first line of defense against any toxins floating through your environment. Your nasal cavity is filtering them out. When you breathe through your mouth you are inviting everything in your environment in.

The best thing you can do to help you stay as healthy and safe as possible during this pandemic is to practice breathing through your nose. It truly is a powerful way to fight off a viral infection.

Breathing in a Mask

Masks are making our breathing worse! More and more people are training themselves to breathe through their mouths once the mask goes on. They have a false belief that the mask is preventing them from breathing. This might only have some truth if the mask you are wearing is cotton. But surgical masks are 100% breathable. 

I know a lot of people who hate wearing anything that fits closely around their necks. They feel as though the turtleneck or choker necklace is physically restricting their breath. This isn’t true, but it’s a common feeling. The same goes for wearing a mask. We see it as restrictive because it is (hopefully) covering both our natural breathing devices. 

The truth is most of us have a CO2 (carbon dioxide) deficiency issue. The air isn’t being limited to you with a mask on, but you might tend to not breathe as deeply or you might start to panic decrease the amount of gas in your blood (CO2), causing you to feel lightheaded and short of breath. Your brain starts to think “I can’t breathe!” But you can, you just need to take a nice deep inhale through your nose and calm your nervous system down.

Try and see your mask as a training device. Every time you put in on you can work on consciously breathing. Inhaling in the nose and exhaling out the mouth. 

You can adjust to breathing in a mask by playing a game

One trick I like to do when I realize I’m mouth breathing in my mask is to close my mouth and do this trick. Inhaling through the nose and exhaling out the mouth. I feel like I can breathe more naturally this way. 

You can also play a game with yourself in lines. I consciously breathe in and out through the nose while in line at the grocery store. I like to guess how many rounds of breath it will take before I get to the cashier. You can also add a count in and out as you go. Inhaling for a 5 count, exhaling for a 5 count.

Home Alone

When you are in your home and safe from all the toxins of the outside world, work on consciously breathing in and out through the nose. Get in the habit of strengthening this filter so you can better protect yourself against disease while out and about in the world. 

Your nose is designed to help ward off disease, so help your system along and practice breathing in and out through your nose.

The deeper you breathe the more oxygen and blood flow to all your cells. This helps to aid in keeping you healthy and fit. 5 minutes of conscious breathing a day can make a huge impact on how you survive this pandemic.