“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment
is the only one you know you have for sure.”
Hello, Kaileen here. We hope you are having a wonderful holiday season! This time of year can be full of bliss, stress, and everything between. The following guest post from Dr. Tom Sult is a perfect reminder to stop and breathe.
Dr. Sult is board-certified in family medicine and integrative holistic medicine. He practices functional medicine and strives to find the fundamental cause of health issues—meaning he asks, “Why do you feel unwell?” rather than, “What is wrong?” Dr. Sult’s appreciation for the science of western medicine, combined with his love for eastern medicine, positions him between the unique space of physician and shaman.
In addition to being a medical doctor and educator, Dr. Sult is an inspirational speaker and the author of Just Be Well: A Book For Seekers of Vibrant Health. For more information about Tom and the Just Be Well Movement, click here.
And now, I’ll let Dr. Sult take over…
Stop what you’re doing. Inhale deeply and hold your breath for a few seconds. Now, slowly release your breath. Doesn’t that feel good? When we’re stressed—which most of us are—pausing for a moment to take a deep breath helps loosen tight muscles and leaves us feeling both relaxed and energized.
Of course, if we’re living, we’re breathing, but many of us end up breathing shallowly and rapidly as the day’s tension takes hold. Deep breathing is an easy and effective way to get rid of tension and immediately improve your health in a variety of ways.
5 Ways Deep Breathing Provides Benefits
The process of deep breathing affects the parasympathetic nervous system and the vagus nerve, which releases a chemical in the body that makes us feel more calm and focused. Studies also show that deep breathing can also decrease symptoms of ADHD.
Lowers blood pressure.
When our bodies react to stress, we invoke the fight or flight response, increasing blood pressure and heart rate. This response is useful in a short-term emergency, but when that stress level stays elevated, it can lead to strokes and cardiac disease. Studies show that slow, deep breathing reduces blood pressure.
Helps the brain.
Studies show that when used in conjunction with meditation, deep breathing can increase the size of the brain–especially in the areas of the brain that help us pay attention and process sensory information. In addition, the increase of oxygen and blood flow to the brain helps to improve focus and clarity.
Aids with digestion.
Taking deep breaths brings more oxygen into the body and increases blood to the digestive tract, helping it to operate more efficiently.
Deep breathing increases the hormones oxytocin and prolactin in the body, which increase feelings of well-being and contentment.
Ready to start relaxing? Start by inhaling through your nose to the count of four, and then exhale through your nose to the same count. Do this several times. Another technique is to take a deep breath through the nose, inflating the belly, and then slowly exhale. Try to slow your rate of breathing so you’re taking six to ten deep breaths per minute.
Deep breathing can be done anywhere and anytime. To make the most of these health benefits, practice deep breathing regularly—whether you’re feeling stressed or not.
Image via Unsplash
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To see this article as it appears on the Just Be Well Movement’s website, please click here.