Imagine being told there was a way you could improve your health that costs absolutely nothing and can be done anywhere, at any time of the day or night. Would you think this is too good to be true?
Well, it is true; according to Psychology Today, “breathing meditation has been shown to have a positive impact on a variety of conditions including anxiety, depression, PTSD, mood disorders, addictions, and stress tolerance.”
Breathing takes place whether you think about it or not. However, when you pay attention to your breath and control your breathing, you’ll be rewarded with a reduction of stress hormones.
Numerous articles have been written about how your breathing impacts your health and it’s quite easy to change your breathing.
Take a moment right now and really think about your breathing. Is it deep or shallow? Then, pause and consider how you’re feeling. In addition, think about the words you use to describe your days. If you have ever said you are ‘too busy to breathe’ or that once a certain life event or work project ends, then you’ll have ‘time to exhale’ you owe it to yourself to learn and practice breathing exercises.
As Alan Fogel explains in the Psychology Today article mentioned above, “chronic breath holding and effortful breathing are not healthy because the muscular effort, coupled with the effects of stress on the nervous, hormonal, and immune systems, can impair both physical and psychological function.”
Perhaps the best reason to learn how to control your breathing is summed up in this quote:
“You cannot finally hold on to anything, just as you cannot inhale and hold your breath indefinitely. The breath teaches you about the process of life, of gathering in and giving out, of giving up the old in order to make space for the new, just as the stale air is expelled to allow a tide of fresh air and energy flow in.” — V. Vessantara, Author of The Breath, The Heart and other books
This short video by Andrew Weil explains a breathing exercise you can practice daily.