Monday, 30 June 2014

Breathing and Healing

Breathing is something we all do, our entire lives, and we rarely pay much attention to it. Focusing on our breathing helps connect the mind and body. When we are stressed, our breathing rate and pattern changes as part of the ‘fight-or-flight response’. The types of conditions that controlled breathing might help include: Anxiety 
Asthma 
Chronic fatigue syndrome 
Chronic pain 
High blood pressure 
Insomnia 
Panic attacks 
Stress. 

These symptoms are in many ways the result of the body staying in a fight-or-flight state due to an imbalance of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. Breathing correctly means that our bodies are being supplied with the right amount of oxygen, replenishing our brain and other vital organs with essential nutrients. 

As babies, we all take deep, relaxing breaths from our abdomen. As we get older, stress affects the way we breathe. When we are stressed, our bodies are in the 'fight or flight' mode. We then take short sharp breaths to help prepare for the 'fight' we will have to face. But prolonged periods of stress we constantly breathe this way, using only the top third of our lungs. When you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax which then sends this message to your body. 

And when you breathe deeply, all your symptoms due to stress, such as increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure, all decrease. Spend some time each day consciously breathing slow and rhythmically, and bringing air deep into your lungs. It is a simple trick to get energized and focused. Deep breathing releases endorphins throughout the body which are feel-good, natural painkillers. Focusing on your breathing during physical activities, can help you become more aware of your body, improving self-awareness. By becoming more mindful of your breath, you can vastly improve your outlook and make choices that help you stay healthy and maintain an ideal weight too.