Keep Anxiety at Bay Using the Buteyko Method This Christmas

The holidays are right around the corner. While this is the perfect time to decorate gingerbread houses, bake Christmas cookies, and visit Christmas tree farms, it’s impossible to ignore the thick mist of stress in the air.

People have been feeling increasingly stressed and anxious during the holidays. Over-breathing is one of the major culprits behind this emotional and mental shift.

In this blog, we’ll offer a closer look at the correlation between over-breathing and holiday stress. We’ll also help you understand how the Buteyko Breathing Method helps alleviate stress during emotionally taxing occasions like Christmas.

How can you use Buteyko Method techniques to feel more calm and relaxed this holiday season? And how can you sustain these practices after the holidays to enjoy a better quality of life? Keep reading; we’re covering everything.

The Correlation Between Over-Breathing & Stress

You may think that breathing is a natural process that everyone does correctly by instinct. While a person can develop the wrong posture, they can’t possibly develop incorrect breathing habits, right?

Well, they can.

Breathing through the mouth disrupts the oxygen and carbon dioxide balance in the body. If you take deep breaths via your mouth, you’ll expel an alarmingly high amount of carbon dioxide. This is not normal. It triggers a state of chronic oxygen deprivation. As a result, blood flow to the brain can also be impaired.

Over-breathing, especially mouth-breathing, can trigger a host of conditions, including stress and anxiety. As your heart rate rises and oxygen concentration in the blood decreases, you’ll start feeling more stressed, anxious, fatigued, lethargic, and lightheaded. Your concentration levels will also go down.

How Can Christmas Trigger Over-Breathing?

Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year for many, but for others, it also causes a lot of stress. People who over-breathe are more susceptible to experiencing stress. Let’s understand why.

1. Cold Air

According to research, cold air can damage the airways and trigger hyperventilation. Of course, this is applicable only to people whose respiration is already weak, which is indicated by a low Positive Maximum Pause.

Our airways are lined with a thin layer of liquid called the airway surface fluid (ASF). As a person inhales cold air directly through their mouth, the ASL evaporates quickly, which results in dry, cool airways.

Cold, unfiltered, contaminated air (which comes through the mouth) increases inflammation, affects ventilation, damages the respiratory system, and provokes coughing. As a result of over-breathing, which can be triggered by cold Christmas air, people can feel more stressed and anxious.

2. Heavy Food

People rarely correlate a healthy diet with healthy breathing. In actuality, there is a very strong connection between the two.

A simple, natural diet strengthens the respiratory system and reduces stress. When heavy, as well as processed, packaged, manufactured, refined, and fast/junk food is eliminated from one’s diet, the health benefits become increasingly evident.

Unfortunately, Christmas food is often very heavy, greasy, and simply unhealthy. Treats like pigs in a blanket, stuffed pork loin, shepherd’s pie, pizza casserole, roast beef, pork chops, and pecan pie can wreak havoc on your respiratory system by lowering your CO2 level in the lungs, which Dr. Buteyko called the main regulator of all body functions.

High-fat meals can decreas pulmonary function and increase airway inflammation; the same for trans fat, processed meats, caffeine, alcohol, and sugar. They trigger hyperventilation, resulting in higher stress levels.

According to a study, participants who consumed unhealthy food at least once a week had higher stress levels compared to those who ate clean. Their respiration also suffers. This correlation cannot and should not be ignored. What you eat is how you breathe.

People who consume fruit, vegetables, and organic whole grains with husks contribute into improved respiratory, mental, and overall health. Your diet should be simple and nutritious. A simple switch from processed to whole foods can help improve your respiration.

3. Lack of Exercise

As people spend time with their family and friends over the holidays, indulgence often increases, and exercise can become less of a priority. This is particularly alarming because physical activity generates CO2 on cellular level and, if combined with nasal breathing, reduces stress.

Physical exercise plays a big role in normalizing carbon dioxide levels. When people stop exercising, their carbon dioxide production decreases and hyperventilation increases. As a result, they feel more stressed.

Will Over-Breathing Affect My Health in the Long Run?

The effects of over-breathing become most evident when people have naturally triggering experiences. For instance, people generally feel stressed and anxious over the holidays. However, these effects aren’t temporary. Mouth breathing negatively impacts health and wellness in the long run.

Hyperventilation/over-breathing (especially, mouth breathing) drastically lowers carbon dioxide levels. As a result, a chain reaction of negative internal processes begins. Your blood pH (respiratory alkalosis) will increase, the acid-base equilibrium of your body will be disrupted, and you’ll experience a range of physiological disturbances. Your mental health will exacerbate, and your musculoskeletal system will deteriorate.

Over time, people become more prone to developing conditions like neck/shoulder strain, muscle tension, etc. If you continue to breathe via your mouth for years or perhaps decades, you may develop generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). You’ll feel more fidgety and on edge, even without any external triggers.

Practice the Buteyko Breathing Method To Manage Your Anxiety

It’s important to note that mouth breathing cannot and should not be modified; there’s no way to ameliorate it. The only solution supportive of health is complete cessation of mouth breathing and a gradual (and eventually complete) switch to nasal breathing, which is the foundation of the Buteyko Breathing Method.

What is the Buteyko Method? It’s a set of safe breathing exercises and lifestyle changes that treat breathing problems and other health challenges. As an alternative holistic approach, the Buteyko Breathing Method doesn’t cause any side effects and set people symptom-free and medication-free.

Nose breathing stabilizes and regulates internal body mechanisms. As a result, people feel calmer and more relaxed and perceive their lives as less stressful.

Of course, it’s still possible to feel stressed and anxious because of external circumstances. However, your breathing habits will not be the cause in this scenario. As oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the body become normal, you’ll feel more relaxed, calm, composed, and collected. Nose breathers are more at peace because of a balanced internal state. Their nerve cells are less agitated, which makes them feel more at ease.

How Can I Get Started?

If you feel stressed and need to feel calmer, you might want to do breathing exercises mentioned by Sasha Yakovleva, Advanced Buteyko Breathing Specialist in this video:

How To Use Buteyko Breathing To Divorce Your Anxiety

In addition, we recommend the following resources:

Buteyko For Anxiety: Natural Alternative Holistic Solution

Buteyko Breathing And Panic Attacks

How To Reduce Stress By Breathing Less

Are You Extremely Stressed? Breathe Buteyko!

Breathing Exercises To Relieve Stress

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