Now close your eyes and take a really deep breath, as deep as you can; then breathe out gently...... and do two more.......
How much did your 'top hand' move?
How much did your 'bottom hand' move?
Try another one and watch/feel your shoulders.... Are they moving up and tensing? Thought so....
Very often when I ask people to "take a deep breath" I actually see instead a 'big, HIGH, breath'. Little air is actually going down deep to fill the bottom of the lungs. The reason this matters is that a 'shallow' breath' is one of the first triggers of the 'anxiety/fear/stress' response so if you are habitually shallow breathing you're telling your system there might be something 'scare-worthy', with every breath.
The good news is that you CAN retrain yourself and this will lessen your anxiety levels and your stress response markedly.
Place both hands on your tummy at waist level. Now CONCENTRATE! Breath in to the area of your hands.....feel the tummy puffing out like a balloon as the lungs fill with air. You might not be able to do it straight away but move your hands around a bit and keep trying.
You don't have to worry about filling the top of the lungs, that'll just happen naturally. Instead, concentrate on relaxing the top of your torso, shoulders in particular, and just get the air going down deep.
With a bit of practise you WILL be able to accomplish this, then it's just a matter of making the practise a priority so a correct breath becomes natural for you. Let me know if you have any questions; enjoy!
Oh - one last thing - don't overdo too many deep breaths at once. The extra oxygen you're taking in could make you a bit dizzy until you get used to it so just take it easy and use your common sense !