If you are in any way at all interested in the holistic health field, by now I’m sure you must have heard of meditation and it’s wonderful health benefits, such as increased immune function, pain reduction, the ability to decrease stress and anxiety, increase of positive emotions and so many more benefits to name .
However, as much as sitting down to meditate for half an hour a day is all well and good, what about the other 23 hours and 30 minutes of the day? What is your breathing like then? Surely that matters too? Not just the 30 minutes?
Also, what if in your 30 minutes meditation you are quieting the mind but not using your diaphragm at all when you breathe? The effectiveness of your meditation may be lost.
So today I’m here to talk about the missing piece of the puzzle…
How to breathe.
It might sound ridiculous that it may be a good idea for us to learn how to breathe again because our body does it naturally for us, right? We don’t have to think, it just happens.
However, when your body has been under stress, tension, anxiety or fear, which can easily happen when you have suffered from a chronic illness for a prolonged period of time, then bad breathing habits can occur such as shallow breathing, chest breathing and chronic breath holding. These habits are not healthy due to the muscular effort that they take combined with putting stress on your nervous system and immune system .
Simply put… how we breathe every second of everyday matters, and if we can learn this principle then we can also apply it to our daily meditation which can only benefit its effectiveness.
When I first began looking into this and started to develop some awareness around how I was breathing, I was so shocked. Basically, I wasn’t! I would hold my breath when concentrating (so a huge portion of my day), let out huge exhales and sighs and never breathe from my belly, it was always from high in my chest. I was a breathing mess. And due to the fact I suffer from anxiety which I am currently treating knew this had to change.
Controlling your breathing has been shown to calm the brain, regulate your blood pressure, boost the immune system and most importantly, calm your nervous system [3,4].
A study in 2016 showed that breathing is the pacemaker of the brain because it can be adjusted through the power of our breathing. When we breath slow and calm, it decreases the activity in the circuit/brain, if we breathe fast, erratic or hold our breath it influences our emotional state and increases the activity .
So essentially we have the power to control our brain and physical state through how we choose to breathe every second of every day. Kind of cool, right?
Now take some time to ask yourself these questions to see if maybe it’s time you look into how you are breathing each and every day?
Do you ever find yourself holding your breath? If so, when?
Does your belly move when you breathe or does your chest rise?
Do you find yourself taking large exhales every now and again?
Do you take short breaths or longer breaths?
Do your shoulders drop when you breathe more deeply?
To read more about how to breathe better click here for a guide on how to learn to deep belly breathe, additionally I found an amazing tool online, a guy called Richie Bostock (aka @thebreatheguy) who offers free info and classes on breathing on the free FIIT app on the app store.
I would love to know your feedback on this? Feel free to leave me comments below…
#breathing #migraine #headache #breathwork #meditation