Why Counting to 10 Works…

…If You’re Also Breathing Deeply

I could say ‘read this when you have time’ but I’m not going to. Please read immediately!

Breathing is the most natural thing in the world. Yet I find the more I think about it and stop to take some ‘good’ breaths when I’m a bit tense, the more I realise most of the time I’m not getting it right. And it matters.

Oxygen is Our Life Support

We can go without water, food and sleep for a long time. But we need oxygen all the time, to stay alive. And we don’t store it very well so we need a constant supply.

When we’re under pressure (that probably means every day), we tend to take shallow breaths . A shallow in-breath means there is less oxygen going to our brain, which can actually cause headaches. If the in-breaths are shallow, then so is the out-breath. Breathing out serves more than just expelling so that we can inhale. The out-breath also serves to cleanse our system and get rid of accumulated toxins. If we don’t get rid of them, they can damage our health. We need to breathe deeply.

 

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It’s a Mind Body Thing

Remember, the brain needs oxygen to function. So does your nervous system. And they like to work together. One of the fastest ways to center ourselves is through our breath and conscious deep breathing. You’ve seen it in the movies. Perhaps you’ve said it to someone yourself, such as a spouse or child or best friend. You know the drill:

“Now calm down and take a deep breath.” There’s a reason for that. It’s not just a platitudinous remedy. It actually works to help calm us and bring us back into our thinking, reasoning mind rather than our “lizard brain”, as Seth Godin calls it, our Medulla Oblongata.

“Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. Not surprisingly, it can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.” Health.Harvard.edu

 

“The opposite of this is also true: if you want to escalate your stress and anger response, breath quickly and shallowly, only to the chest. We don’t recommend this, but if you’ve ever seen someone highly stressed, or a child throwing a tantrum, that’s what they’re doing, unconsciously.”  LeAura Alderson, founder, MyTrainerFitness.com

 

 

Because we think we don’t have time, we SPEND time doing one thing while thinking another. When we do this we are disturbing the unity of our thoughts and actions. We are reacting not acting. this is not a wise mind talking.

Image from simplyeye.files.wordpress.com

Moving to Mindfulness

The solution to being too busy and not having enough time is to make time.

I know it sounds impossible, but it’s not. When you allow your body and mind to find congruence, you will move from ‘fight or flight’ to mindful thinking.

Deep breathing helps this process. It can feel unnatural and strange if it’s new to you but begin with this simple breathing exercise from howtobehappyguru. We’re retraining your brain. Wherever you are. Do it now.

Make sure you pause between each step and make your out breath last longer. It will teach you how to slow down mind.

Once you master this  move on to healthpsych‘s 5 minute mindful breathing workout.

3 Simple Steps to Mindful Breathing

  1. Inhale deeply (feel the breath expand your upper chest then your diaphragm and belly).
  1. Hold your breath for a few seconds (be conscious of being in the space that is not breathing)
  1. Exhale deeply (first from your belly and diaphragm and then your rib cage and chest and out through your nose)

Notice how your body quickly relaxes into calm.

 

Please share your experiences with breath/breathing over on the Best Fit Life Facebook page.

 

RESOURCES

5 Minute Mindful Breathing Exercise, healthypsych.com
Breath Control Helps Quell Errant Stress Response, Heath.Harvard.edu
 The Importance of Proper Breathinghowtobehappy.guru

http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response