BY DR. ATHENA STAIK
Like many, you may have an untapped skill to deeply relax yourself, regulate your emotions, and stay present even in challenging situations. What is this power? Your breath. It has to do with your ability to breathe in ways that transform your energy from tense to relaxed. Diaphragmatic or deep breathing is one of the keys to healthy living and wholeness.
The fastest, most effective way to relax?
Deep breathing is proven to be the most efficient way to bring your focus to the present, to center yourself and feel relaxed…reduce stress, even in the most challenging moments. With practice, you will experience more presence, focus and energy, as deep breathing allows your mind and body to more effectively share information and work in harmony together.
Why deep breathing is so effective?
The practice of deep breathing has been shown to have tremendous healing effects on the mind and body. Since the brain needs a lot of oxygen to function optimally (using about 80% of the oxygen present the body), how you breathe has a huge impact on your mental health and physical well being. Deep breathing corrects the tendency to tense our body, especially around the abdominal muscles.
When depressed or anxious, the breath is shallow, our shoulders are slumped, and lungs are collapsed. We aren’t getting enough oxygen rich blood to feed the brain. Deep breathing, along with some adjustments in our posture, allows the lungs to expand to their full capacity so the body and mind receive more oxygen. Tension depletes the body’s oxygen supply by inhibiting the powerful muscle that supports the lungs, the diaphragm, from sending oxygen to the lower part of the lungs, where it is more effectively released to all parts of the body.
Studies show that deep breathing alleviates depression and anxiety, restoring balance to the biochemistry of the brain by raising levels of feel good hormones Occitocin and Prolactin, and lowering levels of Cortisol, the stress hormone.
In psychotherapy, it is one of the most important components in managing panic attacks.
With a regular practice, you may also expect to see physical improvements in your circulation and blood pressure.
It has been shown to actually heal certain nerves.
Your overall breath rate may also drop, from the average of 16 to 18 breaths per minute to 10 to 12 breaths.
Perhaps more importantly, conscious breathing can unlock doors to self-healing, self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-love, and peace of mind…all of which you need to increase and protect your happiness, improve your relationships…and live your best life.
Let breath turn challenges into emotion mastery!
Your breath can delight you, and turn any daily challenges into joyful mind and body calming and nourishing moments.
Develop your practice of conscious deep breathing…it can improve your life, and transform your experience of it…so that you feel greater awareness of and connection to your mind and body—more empowered to freely give the gifts of “conscious love” to yourself and loved ones.