Every Breath You Take…

Every Breath You Take…

How you breathe affects how you feel. Quick, sudden, shallow breaths can bring on anxiety and panic while long, deep, slow breaths can engender feelings of relaxation. Over time, breathing patterns can also influence posture and how you carry yourself. Shallow breathing encourages limited rib cage movement and tight neck muscles. Consistent mouth breathing can lead to sleeping issues and dental problems. Did you also know eating processed foods will make you breathe heavier according to Mercola due to higher levels of acidity? The Mercola article recommends water, fruits and vegetables for easy breathing and suggests that you avoid grains which negatively affect respiration.

In addition to affecting how you feel and carry yourself, a regular practice of deep breathing might lower your stress levels and promote relaxation too. A scientific paper entitled, “Effect of short-term practice of breathing exercises on autonomic functions in normal human volunteers,” reports that an ongoing breathing practice has many beneficial results like improved respiratory and cardiovascular function and decreased stress. It can also increase alertness and feelings of invigoration. Other studies suggest that blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen consumption can all be reduced by a breathing practice. In essence, decreasing stress and breathing with intention and awareness reduces inflammation.

In fact, there is a specific breath technique to reduce inflammation in your body according to Alison Potts, a meditation and vitality coach.  She explains that anti-inflammatory breathing can affect the vagus nerve which is responsible for the parasympathetic nervous system or the “rest and digest” nervous system. Taking a long, deep inhale followed by an even longer, slower exhale is referred to as the anti-inflammatory breath. It can be even more powerful when coupled with visualizations. Ms. Potts uses it herself to cope with her Multiple Sclerosis.

To diminish snoring and reverse more detrimental health conditions associated with mouth breathing, there is a discipline called Buteyko breathing. You can learn more by going to: https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/11/24/buteyko-breathing-method.aspx. To explore how to start diaphragmatic breathing, visit the Cleveland Clinic at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/diaphragmatic-breathing. Each breath counts, and those that decrease inflammation are the best kind.

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