Breathing in oxygen is an essential habit for human living. We need O2 for survival and basic organ functioning. Oxygen enters through our lungs but does not stay in our lungs. It is transferred to our blood stream where the heart then pumps the freshly oxygenated blood to the rest of our body. With this fresh oxygen, all of our organs function healthier, including our brain.
Breathing and Stress Management
The number of scientific benefits of proper breathing is countless. Many of these benefits play a part in lowering stress to the human body. Let’s first describe how it feels when we are stressed. Adrenaline raises our heart rate and we, without thinking about it, begin to take rapid and quick shallow breaths of air.
Fortunately, our bodies have this built-in stress-reliever, lungs. We can learn to manage our breathing, even during stressful occasions. When we can learn to slow breathing down by taking deep, long breaths of oxygen, we encourage our nervous system and body to relax, which in-turn brings about a range of health benefits. The very basic ones are lowering heart rate and bringing oxygen equally to all parts of our body, helping our brain to focus.
Deep or Belly Breathing
Even if you are not into yoga, belly breathing is for you. And it is simple. First get comfortable in a chair or bed, you can do this standing too. Though, in any case, keep your back straight. We are going to simply breath, but really slowly and only focusing on this exercise for a few minutes.
As you inhale slowly (through your nose) count to 5 or 6 in your head while taking in air. See if you can make it to 7 or beyond! As this is happening your entire belly should stick out a bit more than usual, because you are not just using your diaphragm, but your entire belly! Next as you exhale (through your mouth), you need to also go really slow. Also see if you can count to the same number as oxygen leaves your body. Do this at least three times and you will begin to see results immediately. In future posts, I may refer to this as deep or belly breathing. There are other exercises that build upon this to also reduce stress!