We are hearing about the Breathe and how it ties into aging well more and more these days. There is a lot of research on what, how and why we age the way we do. Why is the way we breathe so important? Oxygen and alpha state for one, stress reduction, lowering blood pressure, lowering cortisol and calming the nerves.
And breathing is FREE we all do it. We can simply benefit from doing it better.
Breathing should be fundamental right? But have you noticed your own breathing? Do you breathe deeply or maybe more small shallow breaths? Do you breathe fast or slow? Are you even aware or conscious of how you breathe?
It’s been well documented that most people don’t actually know how to breathe well. We start out breathing deeply so instinctively, it’s so natural. Watch young children at play or while sleeping. Studies are showing that by the age of 6 our breathing technique starts to slide, by the time we are adults many of us have some pretty poor breathing habits.
The breath can also be used in managing our ‘triggers’ for food indulgences…more on this at the end.
There are many different kinds of breathing exercises or techniques, and they all have benefits. Pop into a Yoga or Pilates class and you will see.
Healthy breathing expands the belly and engages the diaphragm, but most adults breathe shallowly from only the upper part of the lungs while tensing the shoulders and neck….Sound familiar? If this is a habit for you then you may be constantly in a state of low grade stress, which leads to fatigue, or what some experience as the ‘tired but wired’ feeling.
Try this instead: When you are driving, or at your desk, take a moment and slowly breathe in and out 10 times. Yep 10, I like to do everything for 10, nice and simple. And you can do this anytime…in the morning, try it before bedtime….
No time for 10? At a traffic light? Do 5 rounds, it absolutely still helps. Do what you can, whenever you can. Small habits over time right?!?
This slow deep breath will automatically make you feel more relaxed, it takes you up into an ‘Alpha state’. In an alpha state we can begin to detach and ‘float’ above the problem or the stressor….and because we are no longer ‘in it’ we can see things more calmly, with some perspective even.
Simple, powerful, effective, and again, you can do it anywhere, anytime.
Tip #2: the next time you are craving something, say a cookie or chocolate or chips…wait for a few minutes and try the breathing technique above. Pause and FEEL what comes up. Are you tired? Stressed, anxious, angry, sad, lonely, frustrated…let those feeling wash over you. Maybe, just maybe the ‘craving’ was a way of numbing or avoiding those feelings. By allowing yourself to feel the feelings you can let them go. No need to do anything more, just acknowledge that the feelings are there, let them go, and maybe you don’t need the chips or chocolate anymore.
Didn’t work? Maybe you repeat the Breathwork one more time. OR Maybe you really do want the chocolate. Maybe your body needs the magnesium or antioxidants. If so, go have it, make sure it’s good chocolate, and allow yourself to really ENJOY it too!