If you’re not breathing, you’re not living. Literally.
And if you’re not breathing well; you’re not living as well as you could be.
If you pay attention to your breath, you can learn a lot about how you’re taking life in. The breath is an amazing instrument for reporting the state of your internal weather systems. Take a moment to close your eyes and observe your breath. How would you describe your current internal ‘weather’? Calm, warm sunny skies? High winds and thunder showers? Once you’ve answered the question, read on.
Your breath is the link between your conscious and unconscious mind.
Amazingly, by taking control of your breath you can exert a measure of control over the state of your mind and emotions – you can control the weather inside!
If you are living in a state of chronic stress, your breath is likely shallow, rapid and clipped. You can actually choose to use shallow rapid breathing to induce a state of stress and anxiety, shifting your nervous system into fight or flight mode (sympathetic nervous system dominance).
Go ahead, try it!
You don’t want to live your life breathing this way. When the sympathetic nervous system dominates, adrenaline goes surging through the blood stream overtaxing your systems, putting you on edge and impeding the body’s ability to repair itself.
Conversely, you can address states of stress and anxiety by breathing deeply into the belly. This down-regulates the nervous system (activating the parasympathetic nervous system) and stimulates the body’s relaxation response. When the parasympathetic nervous system dominates the body heals and repairs itself and the mental/emotional weather pattern is calm and still.
Breathe better; feel better; heal better; live better.
If we can choose how we breathe (and we can!), we should opt for deep, abdominal breathing in times of stress.
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Read more about your diaphragm.