The advice to ‘just breathe’ when you’re stressed may be a cliché, but that doesn’t make it untrue.
The substance behind the saying is research-tested and not only to manage stress.
- Breathing is an unusual bodily function in that it is both involuntary and voluntary.
- Other major functions like digestion and blood flow, for example—occur without conscious influence. They are involuntarily managed in the vast processing system of the unconscious mind.
- Even though breathing is unconscious, we can grab the controls and consciously change how we breathe at any time.
We breathe all the time but the oddness of this dual-control system doesn’t usually dawn on us it’s this control flexibility that makes breathing especially worthy of attention.
We can change our breathing anytime:
- shallow or deep;
- fast or slow;
- or we can choose to stop breathing altogether, until we pass out and the unconscious takes over again.
Most of us don’t think about how we breathe:
- When we are RELAXED: our breathing is slow and nasal.
- When we are UNDER STRESS: our breathing quickens and becomes shallow.
Our cells need oxygen and their waste products carbon dioxide needs to be released.
Interesting to note: our brain sets the breathing rate according to carbon dioxide levels not oxygen levels.
Breathing incorrectly can cause prolong feelings of anxiety by increasing physical symptoms of stress and can set us off in the ‘flight or fight’ mode.
Breathing properly helps with our physical well-being:
- Managing Stress
- Managing Anxiety
- Lowering Blood Pressure
- Liver Function
- Settle our Emotions
- Regulates our Blood Flow in our system
- Sparking Brain Growth
- ….. and the list goes on and on.
Most breathing techniques are useful before, during or after meditation or even as quick breaks to refresh the mind.
Most breaths can be done anywhere:
- Yoga breathing is always through the nose.
- Palate breathing is in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Try to make inhaling and exhaling last for the same length of time i.e.. In for 4 count and out for 4 counts.
Three areas of the lungs that can breathe into:
- Belly or abdomen (below belly button)
- The diaphragm (just above the belly button)
- The chest
Keep the tummy and the rest of the body relaxed.
When we breathe in: our tummies should go out.
When we breathe out: our tummies should go in.
So if you are ever feeling a little under the pump or a bit stressed out, its simple! Just stop for a moment and focus on your breath!