Do you take time to just breathe?
Raymond Weil, M.D., wisely said, “Practising regular mindful breathing can be calming and energising and can even help with stress related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.” Deep breathing is innate but frequently we go through life never fully inflating our lungs, and yet mindful breathing is a simple way to encourage self-healing.
As children, we are discouraged from showing fear, anger or displaying outbursts of emotion. This manifests itself with shallow breathing or breath-holding in stressful situations. Another factor which prevents us from deep breathing is the need to have a flat stomach. This body image stops us from fully inflating our lungs and letting the diaphragm drop as it should. Shallow chest breathing, rather than deep abdominal breathing, has become the norm for the vast majority of the world’s population.
Deep Breathing and Health
The health benefits of deep breathing are endless. Believe it or not, 70% of our body’s toxins are released through our breath. If we’re not breathing deeply, our body will battle to get rid of these toxins.
How many times have you heard someone say in a stressful situation, ‘Take a deep breath’? Deep breathing helps relieve stress and tension, it also oxygenates the brain, reducing anxiety levels and helps you get a good night’s sleep.
Deep breathing helps to relieve pain (ask anyone who’s had a baby!). However, our automatic reaction to pain is to hold our breath. Every time you take a deep breath, imagine that movement massaging your organs – heart, stomach, liver, pancreas and small intestine. It also strengthens the stomach muscles.
The oxygen which is received by the digestive organs leads to better digestion and assimilation of the vitamins and minerals present in the food we eat.
Studies also suggest deep breathing can strengthen your immune system. There are so many benefits from deep breathing which have been recognised for millennia in various cultures, it’s time we took note.