Sometimes the best thing you can do is not think, not wonder, not imagine, not obsess.
Just Breathe, it seems so simple - even a newborn can do it!
However, by the time we get to the adult stage of life most humans are no longer breathing properly, like the newborn does naturally.
On average a human takes 23,000 breaths per day, 8,395,000 per year.
That’s a lot of doing the same thing over and over again. The problem is that most adults have developed poor posture that decreases the efficiency of each breathe. If a single breathe doesn’t take in enough oxygen that’s fine, there is another one coming in a matter of a few seconds. But if each breath taken doesn’t take in the proper amount of oxygen because of the poor posture that can cause serious trouble.
Posture is one of the biggest contributing factors to our poor breathing habits in the twenty-first century. We are usually crouched down looking at some electronic device, which compresses the lungs and bronchial system, so it can not take in or distribute oxygen properly.
To change your posture
To make a dramatic change in your health just straighten your back and shoulders many times per hour. When you straighten your back take several deep breathes to make sure to get the oxygen flowing throughout the body.
“Sit up straight” we all heard that from our mother’s growing up; but it turns out mom actually did know what she was talking about. Although, for my mom at least I’m sure she wasn’t upset because of my airway and lung capacity.
Ample oxygen supply is critical to the proper operation of both the circulatory (blood) and respiratory (breathing) systems of the body. As we breathe in the clean, fresh oxygen is used to cleanse the blood that is flowing through the lungs. As we exhale the body expels the air that is now soiled by having cleaned the blood. It is a beautiful system that works wonderfully at keeping our body running efficiently.
If however, you are slumped down and compressing your lungs and respiratory system so that less than optimal oxygen is entering the body, the blood can not be cleansed properly, and the body will very quickly start to show signs of lack of oxygen. After only 10 seconds of being oxygen deprived the brain will go foggy and will pass out fairly quickly thereafter. When less than optimal levels of oxygen are present for the body to use, the brain will become confused, foggy and eyesight becomes blurry, thinking and reasoning is impaired. After only 4 – 5 minutes of being deprived of oxygen the brain will never function the same as it did prior to the deprivation. That is serious! If people knew that their slumped posture could be damaging their brain forever do you think it would make them change their poor posture habits?
As mentioned breaths that fail to take in ample amounts of oxygen hamper the cleansing process of the lungs and will allow waste products to remain in the body. After this has gone on for a fairly short period of time, the digestive system slows down leaving the body’s organs under-nourished. The body will become fatigued, stressed and soon everything slows down. Yet, even at this point many people in today’s high tech work will still be slumped over staring at their electronic screens.
It is vital to your life to take proper care of yourself.
For the first several days, maybe weeks, you’ll need to set an alarm to help remind yourself to breathe. That alarm needs to go off about every 10 minutes. When the alarm goes off, just sit up straight, rotate your shoulders and take a couple of deep, cleansing breathes. It will only take about 20 – 30 seconds, not a lot of time, but the overall effect will be priceless on your improved health.
You will be much more clear headed, you will feel much stronger and be able to enjoy your day, if you would fill up your lungs with vital oxygen every few minutes. Once it becomes a habit, don’t slide back into your old damaging ways, it is one of the most important elements to your overall health for your lifetime.
This is a wonderful book that I often recommend to my coaching students who have a lot of stress in life. It is an Amazon link:
To help you deal with stress, fatigue, lethargy or just about any other negative body response, try square breathing. It is a technique that allows you draw in and expel even breathes in a timely, mindful way. This conscious breathing technique is easy to do and no one around you would ever need to know you are doing it. Even young children can do this technique, so share it with your kids.
The process is easy, just breathe both in and out in rhythm, don't breath too deeply, just a nice reasonable breathe, but deep enough to get your lungs full, but not overfilled.
First make sure you have changed your posture to open up your lungs and airways.
Empty out your lungs
Each segment is for 4 seconds, and is represented by your counting
Breathe in 2 - 3 - 4
Hold 2 - 3 - 4
Exhale 2 - 3 - 4
Breathe in 2 - 3 - 4
Hold 2 - 3 - 4
Exhale 2 - 3 - 4
Do this until you feel calm, revitalized, relaxed and refreshed.
This technique works well for kids, especially those who have test anxiety. The above image of square breathing from the Mt. Pleasant Middle School website (in New Jersey), where it was part of teacher Laura Gordon's suggestions for her students. I figured it could help all of us adults who may need the reminder too. Thanks Ms. Gordon!
In addition messing with our breathing, the slumping we do to see our electronics also causes huge damage to our cervical-spine. In the recent report by Dr. Kenneth K. Hansraj, M.D., Chief of Spine Surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine says that the normal tilt of the head to see a screen which is about a 60 degree tilt causes the same pressure on the neck and spine as a 60 pound weight sitting on your bent neck. (To read that study click here)
Tilting your head to read and interact with electronics poses a very serious health risk in many ways. Please consider changing the way you interact with your electronics and share this information with your children so that their lives avoid potential breathing and spine problems in the future.
Self-Care equals mindfully caring for yourself and your body. Start with your own habits and change the damaging ones, then teach your children to be mindful of their health too.
Article by: Wendy Mae, Ph.D.
President, Academy of Spirit, Inc.
The author of all blog posts on this page is Wendy Mae, Ph.D.
Academy of Spirit
PO Box 82854
Kenmore, WA 98028 USA
AcademyofSpirit (at) gmail.com
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