Deep Breaths

Breathing is a fascinating action (IMHO!) because it is one bodily function that can be either automatically controlled via the subconscious with no effort on our part, OR we can voluntarily control it.  Most of the time we don't think about our breathing, but it is being affected by our mood, posture, stress etc. Regularly taking a few moments to take some deep breaths - especially diaphragmatic breaths that have you pushing out your tummy (yes stick it out!) - can calm us down, energize us, and also provides a focus for a short centering break (see post #2!). 

Research has shown that deep breathing techniques help to slow heart rate, lower blood pressure, calm the "fight or flight" response, and increase alertness. Here's a quote from one research report: "Pranayamic breathing, defined as a manipulation of breath movement, has been shown to contribute to a physiologic response characterized by the presence of decreased oxygen consumption, decreased heart rate, and decreased blood pressure, as well as increased theta wave amplitude in EEG recordings, increased parasympathetic activity accompanied by the experience of alertness and reinvigoration." Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16624497/ 

It is so easy and requires no special location or equipment or even much willpower! So set a couple of alerts throughout the day to take 5 deep breaths and enjoy the easy health benefits.

 

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