Why You Should Get In Touch With Your Breath
By Jessie Gibbs
Life can feel pretty overwhelming these days. Though stress is something we normally experience in everyday life, living during the COVID-19 pandemic has made a moment of peace already feel like a victory. So, what should you do when you feel like you're carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders?
Should you let yourself sleep in? Or, perhaps listen to motivational podcasts? While these are indeed helpful ways to de-stress, a huge part of our well-being actually lies in something much simpler — our breath.
Why the Way You Breathe Matters
It goes without saying that our lives depend on breathing, as our body needs to receive oxygen and release carbon dioxide to survive. Despite this, we don't really pay attention to the way we breathe. After all, it's an automatic process in our respiratory system.
However, taking your breath for granted can take a serious toll on your overall well-being. For instance, when you're in a state of panic, your body starts to experience tension and prompts you to take short and hasty breaths. This shallow way of breathing makes it harder for your brain to take in oxygen and eventually, sends a signal to your brain to worry over the uncomfortable air exchange.
In other words, ignoring your breath sets off an unhealthy cycle where your stress causes you to experience even more stress. Thankfully, you can regain control over your mind and body during these situations by simply getting in touch with your breath. True enough, researchers from Stanford University found that slow and controlled breathing can positively influence our neural functions.
Taking deep and conscious breaths is a simple yet powerful way of caring for your well-being. Apart from helping your body relax, it's another way of responding to life's tough battles with grace. When you get in touch with your breath, you aren't just helping your body relax — you're ultimately teaching yourself how to stay grounded amidst the uncertainty of life.
How You Can Breathe Better
All that being said, it's important to become more mindful about the way you breathe. Essential breathing techniques can help you block out your anxieties, fears, and other forms of tension. Breathing styles like the 4-7-8 Breathing Technique and the Lion’s Breath are highlighted in the list of breathing exercises to combat stress by Pain Free Working. You can start with the former by inhaling through your nose for 4 seconds, holding it for 7 seconds, and forcefully exhaling for 8 seconds. Meanwhile, the latter entails sitting in a relaxed position, and breathing in and out for equal counts repeatedly. After several breaths, breathe in deeply through the nose and exhale with your mouth open and tongue sticking out like a lion.
Another powerful way to get in touch with your breath is by practicing yoga. From its poses to meditative practices, this ancient art is centered on breathing. It is through the sense of calm and relaxation from mindful breathing that you can connect with your innermost self in this exercise. To this end, Elite Daily recommends these six yoga poses to help you breathe deeper:
• Easy Pose
• Spinhx Pose
• Cat-Cow Pose
• Bow Pose
• Wild Thing
• Bridge Pose
And sometimes, all you need to do is close your eyes, roll your shoulders, take in a deep breath, and release all your tension with an exhale. Whatever breathing technique you choose to practice, you should instill in your mind that through our breath not only do we live, but we can also have the peaceful life that we all deserve.
Exclusively written for evolvingmagazine.com by Jessie Gibbs