THE SCIENCE BEHIND BREATHING

 

 

Hello, fellow sweat seekers. I wanted to write a little about the actual science behind breathing so you can understand why concentrating on your breathing is so important, not only for your mind but your body too.

I always wondered why people say, take a few deep breaths, relax, breathe, slow down. Sure it feels nice to suck in a massive deep breath but really is that enough? Coming from a medical background, trying to calm down a distressed or anxious patient is a much harder thing to do than telling them to take a couple of deep breaths.  I would always wonder why after their 3 deep breaths nothing really changed.

So let me explain the science behind breathing and hope to teach you the real understanding and correct way to breathe for relaxation and mental calmness.  Breathing is something that when performed correctly can in fact completely change your physiological engine. It can change our emotions, our mental state and therefore our actions and behaviours.

Breathing is involuntary and continuous. The respiratory centre in the brainstem is responsible for controlling a person’s breathing rate and It sends a message to the respiratory muscles telling them when to breathe. Because we don’t have to think about it, this can be our biggest problem.  When we become stressed, anxious, irritated, excited or energised our heart rate increases, demanding more from every system in our body especially the lungs and thus our breath becomes shallow and fast.

Without any conscious focus on what’s happening physiologically, we are left to wonder why we feel so tired and drained mentally or our muscles get tense and our head starts to pound with negative thoughts and poor decision-making.

We forget we are a connected being. Everything inside of our bodies is connected and ticks together in motion. We wonder why we are so stressed at the end of the day but that’s the easiest question in the world to answer; you’re not tuning in and listening to what your body needs.

So How do we do this: Through conscious awareness of the breath.

We have to reset. Think of it as restarting the bodies engine. Everything comes from the beat of your heart so learn to relax your heart rate through the conscious attention of your breath and your body will slowly follow its lead and reduce all prior symptoms.

Remember though it most likely has taken all day to get your systems out of whack so don’t expect it to take 3 breaths to get it back into whack.

What it will take is conscious attention for 5 or so minutes and here is the most important bit….. RHYTHM

Slowly and rhythmically breath in & out exactly the same rhythm. Continue this for 10 breaths without any change to the pattern. Keep exactly the same rhythm and sequence each time.

Your heart needs this unchanged rhythmic motion to reset its electrical energy and it needs that 10 breaths and conscious attention to transport that now calmer energy flow throughout every system of the body.

By doing this 3 times a day or whenever you feel your body needs it,  you’re at the very least returning your body back to a neutral mode and doing a reset of your system from head to toe.

You do not have to be a yoga guru or a meditation goddess to do this. Everybody has the ability to physiologically reset their heart (their engine, their centre, there being) back to neutral by BREATHING IN RHYTHM.

 

 

 

For one week set your alarm 3 times a day.

When that alarm goes off, just stop and see how your feeling.  Tune in.

Do your 10 rhythmic breaths.

Sink into to it with everything you have. Actually feel your heart slowing and pushing that calm energy throughout your body.

After the 10 breaths, reevaluate how you feel. Is it less stressed, calmer and more focused?

You could even push past the neutral mode you have set with your breath by adding in some positive affirmations.  

Try:  “I am grateful for everything I have in my life”,  “I accept life as it unfolds”. “The energy I put out to the universe is the energy I receive”.

Hope this helped your understanding of the breath a little more. Please feel free to share and comment.  I’d love to know if the 10 rhythmic breaths helped you.

Here is a link to a similar topic from the Ted talks and a great watch.

 

Ellice Degiovanni

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