Humans can survive without food for about three weeks. Mahatma Gandhi allegedly survived 21 days without food. Water is even more important as our bodies can only last about 3-4 days without proper hydration. However, the longest a person has been recorded to hold a breath is only 22 minutes by German freediver Tom Sietas.
Meaning: oxygen is vital for humans to survive.
How do we obtain oxygen?
Through breathing of course – breath is something often taken for granted thanks to our automatic respiratory system. Through breath, oxygen is brought in, converted to energy, and released as carbon dioxide.
“WHEN YOU CHANGE YOUR BREATHING, YOU CHANGE YOUR BRAINWAVES” – Dr. Joe Dispenza
Throughout a day, it’s essential to become mindful of your breath. As an average day wears on, we can feel the toll mentally and physically resulting in shallow breathing which means less oxygen. Despite what you eat and what you drink, shallow breathing can make you feel tired and lazy. Sit up, hydrate, and take a few deep breathes as we dive into five benefits proper breathing can do for you and your overall health:
1. MORE ENERGY
When it comes to constant movements like traveling long distances via airplane, or enduring extended hours at work, energy depletion is a guarantee. Taking a few deep and strong breathes to gather yourself will not only ground you but wake you up.
More breathes mean more oxygen that circulates throughout your body. Fresh oxygen eventually leads to your head resulting in clear thinking and better problem-solving. It also helps make the body feel rejuvenated.
Related Post: SURVIVING LONG FLIGHTS
2. CARDIOVASCULAR STAMINA
Conscious breathing increases lung-capacity. The ability to hold deeper, longer breaths contribute to overall respiratory health. During these breathing exercises, the diaphragm muscles are stretched and contracted. Like anything, the more you “work out” the more muscle our bodies develop.
“Deep diaphragmatic breathing increases circulation to the heart, liver, brain and reproductive organs. In one study of heart attack patients, 100% of the patients were chest breathers whose breathing involved very little diaphragm or belly expansion. Another study found that patients who survived a heart attack and who adopted an exercise regime and breath training afterward experienced a 50% reduction in their risk factor of another heart attack over the following 5 years.” (source)
The same chemicals released in sex can be released during slow and quiet, deep breathing. Endorphins are that feel good chemical for our bodies. It’s euphoric in nature, like an orgasm. Endorphins are produced by the central nervous system in the pituitary gland, aka ‘the third eye’ area.
4. RELIEVES STRESS AND ANXIETY
When you become stressed or anxious, your brain releases cortisol, the “stress hormone” and too much of it can be taxing to both body and mind. Constant flooding of cortisol can lead to high blood pressure. Long periods of stress can be debilitating to the immune system, increasing our susceptibility to sickness.
Being sick occasionally comes with high-stress moments in our lives. Feeling overwhelmed can lead to depression, all of which stem from different forms of stress: School, family, events, deadlines, projects, etc.
Although we will never be able to rid stress in our daily lives, we can learn how to manage it, with the breath!
Deep breaths. Three in, three out. Try it! You will feel a little less anxious before that job interview or important meeting. It’s helped calm my nerves during a skydive in Hawaii.
5. NO GIFT LIKE THE PRESENT
Breathing helps with being present. Just being aware of your breath is a form of meditation and the awareness of that breath creates new neurological pathways.
Meditation goes hand in hand with breath. Science is now backing up what many Eastern Philosophies and healing techniques like Anapansati Buddhism that have been guiding humans for thousands of years. There’s almost no need for drugs when you can fix so much with just breath focus. we do it automatically but hen we slow down, incredible things can happen. It’s like tapping into secret powers of the human potential!
During deep breathing, our entire body experiences physiological change:
- Improves overall digestion
- More Oxygen
- Affects Mood
- Muscle tension relaxation
- Overall healthy blood flow creates a plethora of benefits like an immunity booster
- Low blood pressure, everything just flows.
- Homeostasis (physiological equilibrium).
“Deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, bringing us into a relaxed state.”
Breath-work doesn’t have to be in a relaxed state nor does it have to be complicated. Practice while you are on a walk, at a red light, or during a commercial break. Becoming aware of your breath and how you are breathing is what’s important.
Remember there is no “perfect” way to do these exercises, just recommending from experience and what other studies encourage for best “results”.
For beginners, a set routine and comfortable sitting position are recommended; A quiet space.
Working out is great for our health. Sometimes, family obligations, appointments, work, friend obligations can all pile up leaving us out of time for a proper workout. However, a 5-10 minute breathing practice that you incorporate every day, especially on those missed gym sessions, will have a positive result on your overall health.
As something so integral to our livelihood, taking control of our breath is paramount for a long, happy, and healthy life. Thanks to the power of social media, the popularity of mindfulness/meditation/breath-work has only begun to affect the masses, which is fantastic!’
From first-hand experience, I want to reiterate how much of my life has improved by just taking time out of my day to focus on my breath. Busy days get the best of all of us at times, which is why even a 5-minute breathing exercise can change the outcome of your thoughts. It’s a good habit to build with limitless potential to both body and mind.
TIPS for some more profound practices:
- Use abdomen, not lungs (lungs is s form of shallow breathing).
- Started off with meditation music (936hz/alpha brain wave youtube work best).
- Use headphones.
- Comfortable and quiet location.