All of us can use a little “come up for air” time to disconnect from the hurry and flurry of life that happens over the holidays. When it comes to quieting and recharging with rest, what we call Skill 2: Simple Quiet of the Nineteen Skills, a little goes a long way. As we begin to notice our breathing, we can gauge how our nervous system is doing, then take steps to catch our breath and calm down. Research continues to highlight the role deep breathing plays in our health and relationships because, well, breathing is good for us!Deep belly breathing is important because it provides more oxygen in our bloodstream which translates to more oxygen reaching our brain. (1) More oxygen in the brain means our head stays clear while our body becomes relaxed. When anxious or stressed, we may “shallow breathe” which is known as chest or thoracic breathing. This kind of breath can lead to health problems and leave us feeling tense and anxious. Unbridled stress and overwhelm can restrict our breathing while tense breathing can also make us feel stressed and overwhelmed – the two play off each other!
Our body releases about 70% of its toxins during our breathing. (2) Not only does breathing rid our bodies of pollution, but breathing also engages the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system which helps us calm down and avoid the “fight or flight” reactions that come from the sympathetic section of our nervous system.
There are numerous benefits to deep belly breathing. Deep breathing releases muscle tension, helps us relax, decreases the stress hormone cortisol and releases endorphins that make us feel good. (3) Deep breathing reduces pain and unwanted stress, anxiety, and depression that can profoundly rob our joy and disrupt our peace. There is more, but let’s pause for now. Are you still breathing? How deeply? Go on, take a deep breath from your belly. Take a few, then notice how you feel.
All of us at THRIVEtoday encourage you to monitor your breathing this busy holiday season. We pray that your celebrations and gatherings will be full of joy and peace.
Deep belly breathing can be called diaphragmatic and abdominal breathing.