One … Two … Three … Breathe out
Did you know that our physical bodies come equipped with their own in-built stress relieving system? We often take it for granted and yet it is the one constant thing that gives us life. It is so much a part of us that we are often not aware we are even doing it – this natural phenomenon of breathing.
But when we become aware of our breathing, we find there are plenty of benefits to be gained from it. The wealth of benefits is so astonishing, it simply takes ones breath away.
Modern living is stressful. This is slowly becoming fact for many. So much so that ways to eliminate or manage stress has given birth to an entire industry devoted to help us live better, happier and healthier. We go to the four corners of the globe yearning for the perfect massage or pay exorbitant fees for retreats in exotic destinations. But when we think about it, we dont need to go far to experience harmony, health, and balance. We have a powerful tool to keep us physically healthy and mentally sound; and it is right under our noses. We just need to remember to breathe.
Some great reasons to choose doing conscious breathing exercises now
- there is no age limit, anyone can do it
- it is energizing
- you can practise breathing anywhere and at any time
- there are no costs involved, breathing is free
- it is an effective stress reliever
- no equipment is needed
- it only takes a few minutes of your time
The benefits of the breath
Breathing is a natural mood enhancer
Breathing exercises helps raise levels of endorphins in the brain and lowers stress hormones.
Breathing aids in the release of toxins
Toxins can be released by as much as 70% from the body. Through the outer breath, carbon dioxide waste is released.
Deep breathing has a calming effect on the sympathetic nervous system
In times of stress the bodys sympathetic nervous system is triggered inducing the body to prepare for flight or fight. Deep breathing helps slow down the heart rate, signalling the message to the body that no danger is present.
Deep breathing lowers blood pressure.
Along with techniques such as massage and exercise, breathing exercises can effectively help rid the body of stress and aid in the treatment of disorders such as chronic fatigue, depression and anxiety. The profound effects of breathing have on our mental and physical bodies are supported by science and medical practitioners. Studies have shown that breathing exercises helped patients who suffered from asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart failure
When should you practise conscious breathing?
While regular practise of breathing exercises provides the maximum benefits to body and mind, there are certain times when conscious breathing is particularly helpful. Breathing helps to promote relaxation and reduce stress when:
- you want to calm down quickly in a stressful situation
- you are feeling overwhelmed
- you are feeling frustrated
- you want to get rid of tension in your body
- you want clarity of mind
Dont wait to pay the punishing medical costs that result from a stressed out body. The next time you feel that panic attack coming on, simply remember to breathe.
Photo credit: Shawn Rossi