Breathing. Yes we all do it. We have to, if we didn’t we'd die. But do we do it properly? There are different ways of breathing. By breathing properly our bodies will work more effectively and in turn we will actually FEEL the benefits.
When we are in flight or flight mode, our adrenalin and other stress hormones kick in, breathing speeds up and our heart rate quickens in order to get the oxygen to our extremities quicker. To enable and balance this process, energy from other tissues, organs and systems such as the immune or digestive systems slows down. This is all normal and supposed to happen to keep us safe.
However, when we are continually stressed from day to day life, the same things are happening in our body, just on a less obvious or noticeable scale. Constant stress, we know can result in issues such as low immunity or digestive problems, constipation, IBS, not sleeping etc etc the list is endless.
Possibly the single most important thing we can do to help ourselves is breathe properly. In yoga it's said that the breath is the bridge between the mind and the body. There are lots of different breathing techniques, but here's something to try. When you can (finding and allowing some time is again key) Close your eyes, sit up straight or lie down and begin to breathe normally. Notice and watch your breath. Assuming that you have no specific breathing problems, (for people with respiratory illnesses, this wouldn’t necessarily be appropriate) make sure that your shoulders aren't moving. Try and lower them. Begin to notice how your belly moves up and down with your breath. Breathe deeply into your belly. Count to 4 as you breathe in, hold for 4, then breathe out for 4. Keep doing this for as long as you can, breathing all the way in to your belly, and all the way out from your belly.
Stress makes us breathe shallowly, using only the top part of our lungs. This way the body isn't getting enough oxygen and it is tense, which then affects our personal strength and resilience. By breathing properly using the whole of the lung, we can oxygenate our body more effectively and get rid of the carbon dioxide toxins, we will feel calmer, less tense, our tissues and organs will work better, everything will be back to performing as it should. A bit like an MOT. You are the Rolls Royce, happy motoring x