Learning how to breathe properly is something everyone should do. Most people walk around every day taking shallow breaths. Chances are you probably do it too. This bad habit is hazardous not only to your stress levels, but your immune system and experience of life as well.

Use this article as an opportunity to monitor your breathing. Pay attention to how you breathe. Don't change anything yet, just observe. What part of your body moves the most when the air flows in and out? How deep is your breathing?

If you're like most people, you probably have a shallow breathing style with your chest doing most of the moving.

This is bad for a number of reasons. First of all, you're not going to be able to use the full potential of your voice unless you're breathing from your diaphragm. Secondly, your immune system and indeed all the various internal processes that keep you alive and regulated suffer from irregular, shallow breathing. Additionally, not being in touch with your breathing means you lose a lot of self awareness and presence that you'd otherwise have. You can see how important learning to breathe correctly really is!

If any of the above applies to you, don't worry - we're going to fix it. I recommend lying on the ground with your shirt pulled up, or completely off. Place a book on your belly. Take a few deep breaths and see if the book moves. If it doesn't, you're probably breathing from your upper chest region. Imagine the air flowing into you from deep within your stomach. Keep practicing until you get that book moving!

Also pay attention to the length of your breaths. This part is different for everyone, but you'll know when you reach your personal optimum level. Focus on making each breath smooth. In, then out, and repeat. Chances are that you'll have much deeper breaths when you're consciously breathing. We want to make that happen all the time, even when you aren't paying attention.

Once you've got the mechanics figured out, it's all about practice. Breathing is like any other habit. You have to keep doing it until it becomes ingrained into your behavior. I recommend setting aside a month to practice conscious breathing. Practice every day for at least 2-3 minutes. You don't have to lie down to do this - you can do it anywhere. Just make sure you're breathing from your diaphragm, and that each breathe is long and smooth. Also remind yourself as often as you can remember to breathe correctly.

Proper breathing is incredibly important. After you master the mechanics of it, you can start practicing. Devoting 2-3 minutes a day for a month will help replace your old habit of bad breathing. Before you know it you'll have proper breathing down so well that you won't even have to think about it, and you'll get all the associated benefits from it. There's nothing to lose, so start breathing right now!

Author's Bio: 

Fred Tracy runs a personal development website where he talks about all sorts of topics relating to bettering yourself. Some of these include anxiety, inner peace, relationships, and the levels of consciousness.