Breathing. Such a simple thing that we all do without any thought, in fact it's what we must do just to stay alive. Yet sometimes we forget how to breathe.
As we get busy each day and the stress of the world pushes down on us our breathing becomes fast and shallow. We don't use the full capacity of our lungs. And because of this, the oxygenated blood doesn't circulate adequately through our body to distribute the healthy and helpful benefits. In particular, to our brain.
When oxygenated blood flows through your brain it washes out any cortisol and allows us to think clearer and to relax more. I was surprised at the immediate benefits that just three long breaths can make.
Try it now - breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose and fill your lungs to their capacity. As you breath in push your stomach out to maximise the oxygen intake. As you slowly let the air it out notice how calm you feel. Isn’t that crazy?
There are variations to breathing as well that you can try. The 3-3-3 method is one I use when faced with an emotional person. Breathe in for three seconds, hold for three seconds, then breathe out for three seconds. In meditation, the 5-5-5 method is used to enhance calmness.
Research suggests that the more we do this deep breathing the less likely we are to go into the fight or flight mode, it reduces the need for the amygdala. I have heard that it may even shrink the amygdala, that little part of your brain that is responsible for all of our stress-related problems.
Who would have imagined that we would forget to breath properly!