How To Combat Anxiety and Stress: The Power of Deep Breathing
I began taking a much greater interest in the power of our breath over the last few years. I was on holidays with Adam and our dog Winston in the country and staying in a charming little cabin off the grid made out of a shipping container, when I first picked up a copy of ‘Breath’, by James Nestor. I turned over the cover to read the back of the book and was fascinated to learn that we breathe approximately 25,000 times a day!
Unfortunately, many of us don’t engage in deep abdominal breathing. For many, the breath is shallow and rapid. When breathing at a normal rate, our lungs only absorb about a quarter of the viable oxygen in the air, while the majority of that oxygen leaves with our exhale.
When we begin to slow down the rate of our breath, we allow our lungs to draw in more air. In taking longer, deeper breaths, we enable our lungs to soak up more oxygen for our cells to use, and we begin to feel more awake, alert, and focused.
Slowing down our breath isn’t the only issue. Some people are chronic mouth breathers who either forget to breathe through their nose or tend to breathe through their mouth at night. Not only do we tend to breathe incorrectly, sometimes we even hold our breath throughout the day, without realising it. I once heard someone mention the term ‘email apnea’ – a condition where we now hold our breath for short periods of time while checking and responding to emails. We are so caught up in our work that we quite literally forget to breathe!
It’s concerning to think that human beings have lost the ability to breathe correctly and along with our shallow and shorter breathing, we have forgotten the power of this healing tool that each of us possess.
Learning to use breath as a tool for everyday life can be transformational. Even just five minutes of mindful breathing in the morning can help us to feel more calm, centered, and better able to think clearly.
I invite you to take 3 deep breaths before you continue on with you day. Take a slow, deep inhale through your nose and fill up your abdomen, before pausing and then exhaling slowly and fully.
Get your copy of 'Work-Life Balance Survival Guide' now!
(Also available through all leading book retailers)