As we inhale and exhale a thousand times a day, we can often view our natural breathing as a common after thought, however our breathing has a profound effect on our health and happiness. So many of us are so busy consumed by responsibilities that we often find it hard to simply take a big breath and relax. By inhaling with a large breath of air it provides our organs with O 2 that is needed for peak performance. Typically most Americans only inhale the minimum amount of air their lungs can hold, depriving their organs of O 2. Believe it or not; our full lung capacity is at least 5 to liters of air!
Through the process of deep breathing it helps build a stronger immune system through a relaxation effect. By releasing tension on the body it curbs the release of hormones and chemicals that can affect the functioning of the immune system. The key to finding your breadth is to sit in a comfortable position at home or in an area that you most feel relaxed. Focus exclusively on the sound and feeling of your breath for 5 to 10 minutes. As you continue to practice, increase the time you focus on your breadth and stay consistent.
If you suffer from fear and anxiety, simply taking long exhalations signals the nervous system to slow down to help you relax. To find your breath, sit or stand up straight and breathe through your nose for three to five seconds. Breathe out very slowly through your nose, taking twice as long to exhale. Repeat.
Do you ever eat twice as much as you should and regret it afterwards? A recent study found that people who practiced diaphragmatic breathing for 40 minutes after consuming a large caloric meal were able to off-set the lack of energy as result of overindulging. By deep breathing it stimulates the production of insulin that lowers blood sugar levels. So the next time you opt to pig out; breathe into your belly through your nose for a few seconds and breathe out. Repeat several times.
Through simple breathing techniques, it can also help enhance your attention span. Combining deep breathing with mindful breathing for only 20 minutes can increase the flow of oxygenated blood to your brain, increasing activity in your frontal cortex, which is associated with concentration. This technique also helps make you happy through increased levels of the hormone serotonin, which helps ease symptoms of depression. To find your breath sit comfortably in a dim lit room, close your eyes and relax. Take slow breaths inhaling through your nose and breathe out through your lower stomach.
The thing to remember is to not think of your breath as a simple means for survival, but the key to less stress and increased happiness. Take a little time out of your day to simply focus on breathing and witness the changes you will feel in your attitude and well-being.