No one in our time finds it surprising if a man gives careful daily attention to his body, but people would be outraged if he gave the same attention to his soul- Aleksander Solzhenitsyn
When was the last time you noticed yourself breathing? A conscious focus on breathing is a great way to introduce pauses into your daily life, it bring you back into the moment. It helps you become aware when you are holding or constricting your breathe and can be a great source of instant relaxation.
Okay, let’s be real, most people aren’t breathing too easy these days, with all of the negative talk about the economy, sleep deprivation and burnout- All these factors undermine our health big time! We have opted to sacrifice our bodies and minds to work long hours in order to make more money which has attracted stress, high divorce rates and self medication. Speaking of which, deep breathing if done properly can actually help you reduce stress and anxiety.
Deep breathing provides many benefits, like: Improved digestion, improved circulation, increased intuition and creativity, decreased stress, anxiety and depression, regulating heart rate, blood pressure and the nervous system, higher energy levels, and easier weight loss.
This is because deep breathing brings more oxygen to the blood, and transports carbon dioxide waste from the blood more thoroughly. This helps the heart pump richly oxygenated blood throughout the entire body. This in turn nourishes all cells and helps remove their waste products more efficiently.
Most of us engage in shallow breathing. In other words, our lungs don’t expand very full when we inhale and exhale. Also, we tend to breathe upward instead of outward. This is dangerous as it moves tension upward into shoulders, which are oftentimes already tight from everyday stress. Next time you visit the massage parlor, you will notice that the masseur/ masseuse takes more time massaging your shoulders because the tension in this area is normally too much. Anyone hunched over at their computers reading this? Hmmmm….
How to Breathe Deeply
Here’s how to breathe deeply: Inhale deeply while pushing your belly outward; don’t let your shoulders scrunch upward. You may try placing your hand on your stomach so you can feel your breath as it expands. Let your lungs fully expand outward, and imagine oxygen reaching the very bottom of your lungs. Exhale completely, pressing your belly inward; imagine pressing all the air out of the bottom of your lungs.
The great news is that you actually have the ability to help control stress, anxiety and many other symptoms by implementing distressing and relaxation techniques like deep breathing. If you practice this for just three minutes, you will immediately notice improved blood circulation, a slowing of your heart rate and a general sense of calm. Once you mindfully practice deep breathing over a period of time, it will naturally become the way you breathe. Awesome!
Take deep breathes and notice the rhythm of your inhalation and exhalation for fifteen seconds whenever you feel tense, overwhelmed or distracted. This allows you to relax and become fully present in the moment and in your life. This also helps you give attention to the people that matter the most!
Practice this effortless technique and you will soon start experiencing a great sense of well-being!
Here is to breathing, just breathe!