Do you feel short of breath for no reason?

Dysfunctional breathing.

The body breathes, day in day out, and most of the time we forget about it.

When we’re relaxed, our breathing pattern is set by the body and matches what our body needs. However thoughts, emotions, or stress can interfere with this process, and cause dysfunctional breathing.

Dysfunctional breathing patterns can also form during a time of serious illness as a form of body memory.


Dysfunctional breathing can cause symptoms from many parts of the body.

In hyperventilation, for example, we breathe too much (too fast/too deep) in relation to the needs of the body.

The typical breathing pattern seen in functional symptoms is to breath too fast using only the top part of the lungs. This common pattern of breathing causes levels of CO2 in the body to drop, which causes various symptoms, such as tingling around the lips and dizziness.

Some people get a sensation of air hunger or notice they are burping or sighing a lot, as the body tries to release the excess air. Other people notice that they sleep lightly and wake often feeling anxious.

A reset is needed.

This simple exercise can reset the pattern of overbreathing and help you feel more relaxed.

  • Sit comfortably, with your hands resting on your knees.
  • Breathe gently through your nose with a slight focus on your exhale (when you breathe out).
  • Once you have settled into watching the breath, start introducing little pauses after you exhale.
  • There is no need for force. Simply don’t rush to breathe in.
  • Let your body decide when to take the next breath. The impulse will come.
  • Stay curious and interested as your body takes over the pattern of the breath.