The Benefits of Breathing
Life can get pretty hectic, can’t it? Living in Chicago, we are constantly being overstimulated. With the sound of honking car horns and the blaring noise of sirens from fire engines to people rushing off of the El trying to get to work on time; there is a sense of harried commotion all around us. As we encounter these things we can easily become distracted and pulled off our center.
Why does this happen and what is something that we can do to help prevent our outside world from taking over our inside world? One of the many things we can do to return to our centers and take back our inner world is simply to stop what we’re doing and breathe. When we do this, several changes take place within us that ultimately have a positive effect on our body and minds. Below you will find a small list of the many benefits that breathing has on us:
-Slows down heart rate
-Decreases muscle tension
-Enhances energy levels
-Relaxes the nervous system
-Provides more oxygen to the cells in our
body. This will ulitmately help our body systems function efficiently because they are receiving appropriate levels of oxygen. For example, when the body’s oxygen levels are depleated, muscle spasms can occur.
-Reduces levels of blood lactate (lactic acid in the blood that appears when oxygen levels are too low for proper metabolic functioning) this in turn, will reduce levels of anxiety
-Balances endocrine (our hormones) system
-Increases seratonin levels
-Helps with focus and concentration
-Strengthens coping skills
-Increases emotional stability
-Increases lymph flow, this will help with toxin elimination and will result in a strengthened immune system
-The body recovers faster from stress and exertion
When you have a moment, stop, breathe and experience these benefits for yourself. One suggestion to help you experience this is to place one hand on your lower abdomen and one hand on your heart. As you breathe in, feel your lower abdomen expand with breath and allow that breath to continue up into your chest expanding the area around your heart. Hold this for a moment and then slowly let the air out of your body with ease as you exhale. Continue a few rounds of this; feeling the wave-like movement of your breath moving in and out of your body. When you feel ready to continue on with your day, take note and see how you feel. You may enjoy this so much that it becomes an addition to your daily routine. It is my hope for you that it becomes so.