the breathe of life
Inhale, exhale, yes BREATHING, is the most important thing! Without oxygen, your system collapses with unconsciousness in 10 seconds, and brain cells are destroyed in 4-6 minutes. While most of us our breathing, since it is part of our autonomic nervous system, we don't have to be concerned about becoming brain dead, however, many experience fatigue or decreased mental acuity which can be increased with some simple changes with breathing correctly.
Have you watched a baby, cat or dog breathe? You will notice that they breathe with their bellies. Somewhere between adolescence and adulthood, we become chest breathers instead, possibly due to the “hold in your gut” phenomena. If you are sucking in your stomach, it is harder to suck in air simultaneously. Also, anxiety and other problems can make people become more of a chest breather v.s. the belly breather, which we should all be.
Do this simple exercise to test what type you are, right now: Take both your hands, place one on your chest, and other on your stomach. If you can consider doing this with a partner so you can get feedback. Now with your hands still in place, take a deep breathe in. Did you notice which hand moved first? Repeat inhale if necessary. So, if your top hand moved first, you are a chest breather, if your bottom did, congratulations, you are a belly breather! If you are a chest breather, your goal is to take a deep breath with the intention that you will fill up your diaphragm (above your stomach) and that after a little practice, you will be an unconscious belly breather, as in you will later just do it, naturally!
Breathing is beneficial to not just your brain and mental capacities, but to every cell in your body! Each day make an effort to take at least 10 deep breaths, perhaps upon rising, bed time, or even in the car! For added stress relief, take an inhale breath for 5 counts, HOLD it in for 6 counts, and release/exhale for 7 counts (feel free to change the numbers, so long as it is progressively longer time for each step, ie. 4-5-6, 7-8-9) A life coach once shared, “breathing is as easy as 1-2-3 USING 4-5-6” for the inhale, hold, exhale. You will be amazed when you first do this and how you feel a little different and more relaxed!