Vacuuming the Lungs

September 29th, 2007

How to breathe deeply when you’re nervous.

1. Exhale completely, as if you’re blowing out the candles on a very big birthday cake.

2. Bend over. This expels the last bits of air from your lungs. When you’re totally out of air, don’t let any air come into your throat.

3. Stand up. This increases lung volume, so air will want to flow into your lungs, but don’t breathe. Wait until your body needs a breath—10 seconds or so.

4. Then, when you can’t take much more, breathe. Your body will have moved over from your normal, everyday breathing to unregulated, autonomic “response breathing.”

That’s it. Once you let your body take that unregulated breath in step 4, it sort of “reboots your lungs,” and the nervous, “holding-pattern” breathing becomes a thing of memory.

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