Breathe in… and out

Today marks the first day of Lung Foundation Australia’s (LFA) Lung Health Awareness month, so we’d like to take some time to remind you of an all-important bodily function and how it can be harnessed as more than an unconscious action.

We breathe about 22,000 times a day, though it’s mostly unnoticed. Since breathing is such a routine background process we may take it for granted. Not sure how your lungs stack up health-wise? Take the LFA’s interactive lung health checklist.

Risk factors

Your lung health can be impacted by various factors; some environmental, some self-inflicted. It’s important to be aware of what you should be trying avoid, and hey maybe it’s an excuse for some environmental lobbying!

  • Smoking
  • Air pollution
  • Influenza and pneumonia
  • Indoor pollutants and allergens
  • Wood smoke
  • Asbestos

All in the mind

We know the obvious physical implications of breathing, but what about for our mental health? It can actually alleviate severe depression. Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania discovered the use of yogic breathing resulted in significant improvement for medicated patients with major depressive disorder.

The benefits still extend to those who aren’t experiencing mental illness. You’d be surprised at how beneficial breathing awareness is when you want to de-stress and re-centre yourself. Try using an app like Smiling Mind, which utilises meditative breathing.

Above all, keep calm and breathe easy!

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