Deep breathing exercises are a great way to increase oxygen to the brain and calm the central nervous center. Deep big breaths can be taken any time you feel yourself switching into fight or flight mode. Deep breaths can be taken in the car. Deep breaths can be taken when trying to get to sleep. Deep breaths can be taken when you get in an emotionally charged conversation. Try it!
Deep breathing is a great time to slow down and pay attention how that oxygen going into the body feels. Breathe in so deeply that the air completely expands your lungs and you feel the top of your abdomen expand. Then slowly breathe out. Paying attention to the way the oxygen moves in and out of your body will help you be mindful of the present. Often our thoughts can jump ahead and worry about all sorts of things that cause stress and take energy! Taking a moment to take deep breaths helps re-center your thoughts so you can focus your thoughts, time and energy on the present and what you can do now to help the situation.
Increasing oxygen supply helps with mental clarity. In nursing school, our instructor told us that if you have to choose between exercising for 30 minutes and studying for an extra 30 minutes before a test, choose exercise. The deep breathing associated with exercise will help nourish the mind and result in better test scores than studying alone. If the lack of oxygen is so devastating to our health, think about the power oxygen has when there is ample supply! So take those big deep breaths and enjoy the soothing feeling of oxygen!
Goal: Take 10 deep breaths a day and recognize how it makes your body feel. Tell someone about it or write it down.
Hint: Talking and writing things down helps us remember what we are learning. One idea is to use a free app on your phone called evernote to journal your health journey.
Ideas to ponder: What happens to our breathing when we get stressed? How can shortness of breath increase stress? Could oxygen be nature’s most accessible remedy for anxiety?