BREATHE FOR YOUR BRAIN

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” Hillary Cooper

 

What do we miss by forgetting to breathe?

Breathing slows us down and inspires us to notice the beauty all around us. 

 

BREATHE FOR YOUR BRAIN

Breathing is unusual because it is both voluntary and involuntary. Our digestion and blood circulation happens without conscious effort, but we can change our breathing by making it deeper or shallower. These changes can help or hurt how the other systems in our bodies perform.

In five minutes or less, by practicing deep breathing, we can increase our focus to take in the incredible sights, awakening smells, luscious tastes, and soothing sounds all around us.

As our brains receive more oxygen, we may get more clarity of thought. Who doesn’t need that?

Even the Greeks and Romans physicians realized that deep breathing benefited overall health. They believed that “holding” the air in the lungs cleaned out the impurities in the body and made it stronger.

So, how do we do it? The secret is breathing deeply all the way into your abdomen, not just to your chest!

1. Sit upright or stand tall.
2. Take in a “practice breath” and smile.
3. Place your hand on your abdomen.
4. Slowly inhale through your nose,
expanding your belly, counting to 3.
5. Exhale fully through your mouth releasing the
waste and counting to 5.
6. Repeat 3 more times.

(ONCE YOU ARE A PRO, AND THIS SEEMS TOO EASY, INCREASE BY COUNTING TO 5 AND 7)

Hint: You should feel your hand on the “belly” expand as you breathe in and go back down as you breathe out.

Most of us do the reverse…as we breathe in, the belly sinks, and as we breathe out, it relaxes and swells.

Besides increased focus and clarity of thought, what are…

MORE BENEFITS TO THE BRAIN?

Increased oxygen alleviates

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • stress

The brain uses around 80 percent of our bodies’ oxygen.
Have you noticed that if we are anxious, fearful, or depressed, our breaths become shallow? If our shoulders slump, our lungs collapse. This limits the amount of oxygen that our blood takes to our brains.

Deep breathing helps to adjust our posture, and soon our bodies and mind can get more oxygen.

Deep breathing restores the brain’s biochemistry which helps with depression. Oxytocin and Prolactin are the two hormones that make us feel good. They increase as Cortisol (the stress hormone) decreases. Guess what aids in the decrease of Cortisol? You guessed it…

  DEEP AND CONTROLLED BREATHING

Controlled breathing can alter our nervous systems’ fight or flight responses to stress. The vagus nerve runs from the base of our brain to the abdomen and it  “talks to” the nervous system. When this nerve is stimulated through breathing,it releases acetylcholine which:

  • increases calm
  • increases focus
  • decreases anxiety
  • lowers heart rate

CALL TO ACTION:

  • Set a manageable goal to practice deep breathing. (every day, every other day…)
  • Write your goal on your calendar or on anything visible to remind you!
  • Leave a comment to this post sharing your goal.
  • (Be sure to check the box to “Notify me of new comments to this post by email”) We can read each others’ goals and support each other!

 

 


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