Breathe Away the Stress – Be in the Moment

Last week we shared a number of strategies to keep your mind clear, your body flexible and your immune system strong. 

This week we are going to get a bit more granular and share one of the most powerful resources we have for whole body/mind health.   Breathing! 

I wrote this article a few years back and it is just as relevant now as it was back then. 

“When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace” – Author Unknown

Success leaves clues.  There must be a really good reason that breathing is the cornerstone of hundreds of mind-body techniques and spiritual practices around the globe that have spanned centuries through human existence.

Three good reasons why deep breathing brings so much to you:

Simple.  Breathe in for a count of 4 through your nose.  Breathe out for a count of 4 through your nose.   Visualize your breathing moving through each side of the box as you go through each breathing cycle.  Stay mindful of the breath focusing on the movement of air in and out.   Repeat at least 10 times.  This is a powerful, yet simple technique that at minimum helps clear the mind, relax the body and improve your focus. 

  • Increases oxygen content in your body (most importantly your brain).

The second most important form of energy to our body is oxygen.   Your brain makes up about 2-3% of your total body mass yet uses more than 20% of the oxygen.  By deep breathing regularly, you will support your beautiful brain with the nutrients it needs to function at its best.   Remember oxygen=energy.

  • Helps your mind-body relax.

Have you ever been stressed out about something and then suddenly realized that everything was OK?  You may have even made a little sound that went something like….Ahhhhhh.  You know it, the sigh of relief.  This is your body’s wisdom at its best.  The sigh is simply a deep breath, the sound we make creates a resonance that relaxes our body and mind.  How cool is that?  As we have talked about before, anything that puts your mind-body in a place of relaxation and peace is precious beyond calculation.

  • Puts you in the present moment.

Each breath you take is past and you cannot “future breathe”.  Have you ever thought of that?  What this means is that if you are concentrating on your breathing, in and out, you have no choice but to be in the present moment.  We’ll explore the incredible importance of presence in an upcoming blog.   As a teaser, here is a quote from Eckert Tolle’s book “The Power of Now” to illustrate why presence is a key to our peace of mind and happiness. 

“Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”

Enough said.

There literally hundreds of breathing exercises and techniques that we can explore and use in our daily lives.  Just Google “breathing techniques” and you will see what I mean. 

Here is an easy beginner breathing exercise in to start your healthy breathing journey.

4X4 Breathing (Box Breathing)

Simple.  Breathe in for a count of 4 through your nose.  Breathe out for a count of 4 through your nose.   Visualize your breathing moving through each side of the box as you go through each breathing cycle.  Stay mindful of the breath focusing on the movement of air in and out.   Repeat at least 10 times.  This is a powerful, yet simple technique that at minimum helps clear the mind, relax the body and improve your focus. 

Until next week…

With Your Health on My Mind,

Dr. Y

PS – Please share this information with friends and family.  They are part of your environment too!   They can sign up for our blog at www.go2glow.ca