By taking longer and deeper breaths we can breath ourselves to a healthier life. Control you breath, control your mind, control your life! Yogis put a great deal on the breath and here’s why.
The fastest and easiest way to calm your mind and feel less stressed about the small things is to learn to control your breath. In the fast-paced society we live in today, we rarely stop and take our time breathing. Shallow breathing up in our chests leaves less time for the oxygen to be taken up by our red blood cells. The deeper you bring your breath in your belly the deeper it goes in your lungs, allowing the capillaries to grab on to the oxygen that nourishes your body.
Shallow breaths activate our sympathetic nervous system, our ‘flight and fright’ mode. While our bodies naturally need this, we don't need it for the long time periods most people experience in every day. These feelings can be brought up by someone cutting in front of you in the coffeeshop line or driving in hectic morning traffic. These small things can easily make anyone annoyed and perhaps even angry, creating our hearts to beat faster, adding the shallow breathing and getting a dopamine rush, like your body is preparing for a fight with a bear in a caveman style kind of manner. That fight doesn’t necessarily happen that much in today's modern world, but our bodies still work in the same way. During the ‘flight and fright’ mode basic functions in our body, like digestion, turns off to focus everything on survival. For people that live in this state for the most part of their day have their bodily functions disturbed and function less optimal than a person who is less stressed.
Being in a stressed situation or feeling anxious can quickly be changed by elongating your exhale. By doing this we start to activate our parasympathetic nervous system, our ‘rest and digest’ system. It slows our heart rates down and increases activity in our intestines and glands that help our bodies to run smooth.
Science shows that prolonged stress and anxiety can lead to depression and other chronic diseases.
Whenever you feel the stress creeping up on you, make it a habit to focus on your breath. Calm your mind by slowing down your breath. This allows us more time to respond rather than reacting to things. Taking 10 deep breaths putting your focus on your exhale to be a little longer each breath and notice the difference instantly. Practice this frequently and it will take you less time to reach a state of calm and peace of mind each time.