- Breathing, at a slow steady pace, activates the “relaxed” nervous system. The “relaxed” nervous system prompts the body to properly deliver blood to your vital organs and extremities.
- Short shallow breathing activates your “fight of flight” nervous system, which shunts blood away from your vital organs and extremities, depleting them of oxygen, while sending all the blood to your brain.
- The muscles involved in expiration, the intercostals, are stronger than the muscles involved in inspiration. By training your exhalation to extend, your inhale will naturally extend as well.
- Training your breathing patterns is an effective long term solution to improve stress, anxiety and health conditions such as high blood pressure and panic disorders.
- Breathing is the way we feed our vital organs, including our brain, with oxygen. Without enough oxygen you may experience mental sluggishness, lack of energy, negative feelings.
Why is oxygen so vital? Often times the importance of something is more clearly defined in it’s absence. Though we can do without food for weeks and possibly water for days, without adequate oxygen supply, we will die within in a few minutes.
So what is happening in our bodies daily when we are breathing quickly and shallowly? Holistic Living Online reports, “While the result is not as extreme as a heart attack or a stroke there are still a significant series of “little deaths” occurring in the body. We may experience these as feelings of mental sluggishness, lack of energy, decreased creativity and heightened states of negativity.”
Today, make it simple. If you are feeling hurried, overwhelmed, or stressed, stop, slow down, and breathe. You will gain the clarity, focus, and peace you need by simply breathing. Make your breaths even, steady, and slow.
1. Stop – Take three deep sighs. As you release your sigh make an audible “AHHHHH” sound. The conscious use of sound creation creates wellness in your body. Release anger and frustration through this simple vocalization and get the chaos out of your body.
2. Breathe – Take a deep breath. Fill your belly like a balloon when you breathe in. Exhale and deflate your belly pulling it flat against your spine. Breathe at a slow steady pace. Strengthen your exhale, making it longer than your inhale. Repeat until your breathing is steady, slow, quiet, and regular. Practice for 5 minutes.
3. Visualize – Visualize images, colors, and natural settings, which promote a sense of calm in your body. Serene lakes, turquoise seas, and rolling hillsides help to create a feeling of expansiveness and freedom. Imagine majestic oaks or picturesque mountain ranges to help you feel grounded. Picture healing colors cocooning you in light and surrounding your body. My favorite color cocoons are violet, emerald, and fuschia. Choose your own color. Your imagination is a powerful tool.
4. Listen – Listen to music that relaxes you. Metallica or Mozart, music brings you into the present moment, relieves stress, and effectively moves emotions. Choose your genre. As Martin Luther said, “Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.”
5. Play – A joyful cure for chaos. Pets are the perfect playmates. Run your dog, snuggle your cat, or visit a bunny at the pet store. Engage in sports, games, and recreation. Get your heart pumping and your blood moving.
6. Unplug – Get out into nature. Explore the outdoors and unplug from technology. Howl at the moon, gaze at the stars, and observe the sunset. Take a break from your email inbox, Twitter feed, and Facebook fan page.
7. Surrender – Let go of control. Allow life to flow. For a moment, forget your plans. Replace rigidity with flexibility. Anticipate things going better than you expected. Affirm your life is unfolding for the highest possible good.
Practice these seven tips on a regular basis to help you move from chaos to calm.