fbpx
Scientific Proof...Just Breathe

Breathing Techniques Can Help you

The breeze is like the earth’s breath. Sometimes it is quite shallow, as it was the other day at the beach, and sometimes it is intense, as it is during storms. It got me thinking about how most of us only breathe shallowly and without intention. In fact, most of us give little to no thought to our breathing techniques.

Yes, breathing is an involuntary action. But our breath can do wonders for our mental and physical health when we take over the controls and make breathing voluntary and intentional.

Breathing and Your Fight or Flight Response

Controlled breathing, sometimes also called simply “deep breathing,” has been a stapled feature of Eastern health practices for centuries. But it wasn’t until the 1970s that the concept became known and practiced in the West. It took breathing techniques a lot of scientific proof before western folks caught on!

While the practice is very simple (inhale slowly and deeply through nose for a count of 5, hold for a 3 seconds, exhale through mouth for a count of 5), the results can be profound.

When we practice conscious breathing, we trigger our parasympathetic nervous system to come online and counter our sympathetic nervous system’s fight our flight response to daily stress. This is incredible, because our fight or flight response, over time, can make us very very sick.

The following are just some of the ways intentional breathing can benefit your health and well-being. And keep reading until the end because the last one is the one I am most excited about!

Managing Stress

Human beings are hardwired to be on high alert for any signs of danger in our environment. It’s how our ancestors stayed alive. It’s the fight or flight response I mentioned.

But back in ancient times, stresses were short-lived. You were out gathering berries in the woods, you spotted a big, hungry bear, your fight or flight response kicked in, your body went into automatic pilot to get you out of that dangerous situation (hormones released, heart rate and blood pressure increase) and you ran like hell to safety.

Modern stress isn’t so short-lived. Mounting debt, long commutes, horrible bosses, toxic relationships, and lack of quality sleep seem to plague many people. This causes our bodies to be in a CONSTANT state of fight or flight. Which means stress hormones are constantly secreted into our bloodstream and our hearts and constantly beating rapidly.

Controlled, intentional breathing is, quite possibly, one of the most effective and powerful tools you can use to take your brain out of high alert and put it into a relaxation response.

Manage Anxiety

Controlled breathing triggers the stimulation of the vagus nerve, which is a nerve running from the base of the brain to the abdomen. This nerve is responsible for lowering heartrate, as well as signaling the release of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine that initiates increased focus and calmness.

Acetylcholine is also able to decrease feelings of anxiety. Some studies have also suggested that stimulating the vagus nerve may also help those with depression who have not responded to anti-depressant medications.

Lowering Blood Pressure

Research suggests that when practiced consistently, controlled, intentional breathing will result in lower blood pressure and heart rate, which in turn results in less wear and tear on your blood vessels. Overtime this practice can help individuals prevent stroke and heart attack.

Grow Your Brain

Some of the coolest research of late has shown that when controlled breathing is used as part of a meditation practice, the result can be an actual increase in the size of the brain. But more specifically, the areas that seem to grow are the ones associated with attention and processing of sensory input.

Changing Gene Expression

OK, this is the benefit I am most excited about! Research has now discovered that controlled breathing can alter the expression of genes involved in immune function, energy metabolism and insulin secretion. What if intentional breathing is the key to preventing and even reversing disease?

The bottom line is, our lives are constantly filled with stressors. And there’s not much we can do to avoid them. But we CAN manage how we deal with stress so that we don’t develop disease. And one of the simplest, most enjoyable and most effective ways of combatting stress is controlled, intentional breathing.

Take a moment to do some controlled breathing

Before I leave you I want you to do me a favor. I want you to close your eyes and picture something that makes you calm and happy. Maybe you’re at the ocean or by a lake listening to the gentle waves lapping the shore. Now, while visualizing and feeling this peace, take three deep slow breaths in through your nose for a count of one… two… three… four… five. Hold… one… two…three…and exhale through your mouth for a count of one… two… three… four… five…

Repeat these two more times inhale 1… 2… 3… 4… 5…

Hold 1…2…3…

Exhale 1… 2… 3… 4… 5…

One more time inhale 1… 2… 3… 4… 5…

Hold 1…2…3…

Exhale 1… 2… 3… 4… 5…

How do you feel? You’ll likely feel calm and relaxed and GOOD! And you only did that exercise for a few seconds! Imagine if you made a habit of this and practiced for 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening. How could it change your quality of life and health?

I also encourage you to look into HeartMath to really dive deeper into how breathing techniques can enhance heart/brain coherence.

Wishing you peace and calm in the days ahead.

Hang in there and breathe.

Love you,

Prue

Join the conversations in our discussion group.

One Response

  1. Hi Prue,
    I love your blog about breathing today!
    I just started the Wim Hof breathing method (his free mini-course) and I found that doing breathing exercises has made me feel a lot better. Wim Hof got my attention because he said it is really good for inflammation. I’m curious if anyone else has tried it?
    Heather

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Facebook Feed

11 hours ago

Prudence Sinclair

Don’t Deny Your Feelings

It’s the holidays and everyone seems to be in such good moods, and you hate to spoil the fun with your darkness. You don’t want to feel dark; you want to feel like everyone else seems to.

Denying feelings is an impulse for many (if not most) people. But it’s not healthy and it will truly only make things worse. When we don’t process our feelings, they tend to linger.
...

Don’t Deny Your Feelings

It’s the holidays and everyone seems to be in such good moods, and you hate to spoil the fun with your darkness. You don’t want to feel dark; you want to feel like everyone else seems to.

Denying feelings is an impulse for many (if not most) people. But it’s not healthy and it will truly only make things worse. When we don’t process our feelings, they tend to linger.

Whether you are dealing with your own health crisis, have a loved one who is, or have recently lost someone you love, coping with grief during the holidays can make you feel like you are in a nightmarish funhouse. Everything seems to move in slow motion, people have plastered smiles on their faces, holiday music seems to play from every corner of the Universe, and all you feel like doing is crying.

You are not alone during this time. Sadly, there are many people who are facing loneliness, grief and depression during the holidays.
While there is no magic wand or silver bullet that will make the pain go away, there are some things I have found that make coping a little bit easier:

- Don’t Deny Your Feelings
- Say “NO” When You Need To
- Identify Those Things You CAN Control
- Ask for Help
- Help Others
...

Whether you are dealing with your own health crisis, have a loved one who is, or have recently lost someone you love, coping with grief during the holidays can make you feel like you are in a nightmarish funhouse. Everything seems to move in slow motion, people have plastered smiles on their faces, holiday music seems to play from every corner of the Universe, and all you feel like doing is crying.

You are not alone during this time. Sadly, there are many people who are facing loneliness, grief and depression during the holidays. 
While there is no magic wand or silver bullet that will make the pain go away, there are some things I have found that make coping a little bit easier:

- Don’t Deny Your Feelings 
- Say “NO” When You Need To 
- Identify Those Things You CAN Control 
- Ask for Help 
- Help Others

2 days ago

Prudence Sinclair

Good morning, lovely you!

I cannot believe we are almost to the end of October! Before you know it, we’ll be stuffing our faces with stuffing and pie! And while many of us will be lucky enough to enjoy the holiday season with our friends and family, many people will be dealing with grief and sadness at the same time.

It's important to remember that each person has their own journey, and those paths don't always make time for holidays. Whether it's cancer, a breakup, or just a bad situation, we should all try to spread hope and love and life wherever we go.
...

Good morning, lovely you!

I cannot believe we are almost to the end of October! Before you know it, we’ll be stuffing our faces with stuffing and pie! And while many of us will be lucky enough to enjoy the holiday season with our friends and family, many people will be dealing with grief and sadness at the same time.

Its important to remember that each person has their own journey, and those paths dont always make time for holidays. Whether its cancer, a breakup, or just a bad situation, we should all try to spread hope and love and life wherever we go.

3 days ago

Prudence Sinclair

Deal with Your Stress

We can’t talk about boosting your immune system without talking about stress. Because the truth is, chronic stress is the number 1 enemy of your immune system.

I’ve discussed the “fight or flight” response our body has to stress in other blog posts. But to quickly summarize, when we find ourselves in harms’ way, our body has a chemical reaction that helps us either fight the danger or flee from the danger. This automatic response is what helped our ancestors survive attacks by sabre-tooth tigers and such.

But now we don’t have the same kinds of dangers in our environment. We have mortgage payments, tyrannical bosses, COVID-19, working from home stress and 24/7 media hype! These stressors stay in our environment, which leads to a lengthened chemical response in our body, and that leads to chronic inflammation.

But a prolonged response to stress also suppresses the very immune cells that are needed to fight off infection and illness.

I CANNOT STRESS how important it is to deal with the stress in your life in healthy ways. Meditation is a powerful way to deal with stress. Deep breathing exercises, physical exercise, and spending time in nature are also great ways to deal with stress. And if you find you need to speak to a mental health counselor, do it. Your health is on the line.

If you’re one of my readers that always says, “I know, I know, I should be better about supporting my immune system,” then consider me right now giving you a friendly kick in the pants to just DO IT already!

Much love and health to you!
...

Deal with Your Stress

We can’t talk about boosting your immune system without talking about stress. Because the truth is, chronic stress is the number 1 enemy of your immune system.

I’ve discussed the “fight or flight” response our body has to stress in other blog posts. But to quickly summarize, when we find ourselves in harms’ way, our body has a chemical reaction that helps us either fight the danger or flee from the danger. This automatic response is what helped our ancestors survive attacks by sabre-tooth tigers and such.

But now we don’t have the same kinds of dangers in our environment. We have mortgage payments, tyrannical bosses, COVID-19, working from home stress and 24/7 media hype! These stressors stay in our environment, which leads to a lengthened chemical response in our body, and that leads to chronic inflammation.

But a prolonged response to stress also suppresses the very immune cells that are needed to fight off infection and illness.

I CANNOT STRESS how important it is to deal with the stress in your life in healthy ways. Meditation is a powerful way to deal with stress. Deep breathing exercises, physical exercise, and spending time in nature are also great ways to deal with stress. And if you find you need to speak to a mental health counselor, do it. Your health is on the line.

If you’re one of my readers that always says, “I know, I know, I should be better about supporting my immune system,” then consider me right now giving you a friendly kick in the pants to just DO IT already!

Much love and health to you!

4 days ago

Prudence Sinclair

Polyphenols

Decades of research have now confirmed that polyphenols, powerful plant compounds, have very positive effects on the immune system. Without getting too science-y, the body’s mucosal layer is its first line of defense against invading pathogens. But this layer, over time, can become susceptible to structural abnormalities, which negatively impacts the immune system’s initial response. Polyphenols protect this mucosal layer, thereby helping your immune system to do its job!

To get more polyphenols into your diet, be sure to add berries, dark chocolate, beans, nuts, red onions, spinach, black and green tea and red wine to your diet!
...

Polyphenols

Decades of research have now confirmed that polyphenols, powerful plant compounds, have very positive effects on the immune system. Without getting too science-y, the body’s mucosal layer is its first line of defense against invading pathogens. But this layer, over time, can become susceptible to structural abnormalities, which negatively impacts the immune system’s initial response. Polyphenols protect this mucosal layer, thereby helping your immune system to do its job!

To get more polyphenols into your diet, be sure to add berries, dark chocolate, beans, nuts, red onions, spinach, black and green tea and red wine to your diet!
Load more

Melanoma Madness:

Melanoma Madness If you are new to my blog and don’t know my history, I was given only 6 months to live 30 years ago with stage 4 nodular malignant melanoma. Melanoma, as well as my home country New Zealand, are close to my heart.

Search Prue: