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HEALTH REMINDER: For Mental Focus & More, Take a Deep Breath

Among the things we know but forget, breathing tops the list. "Forget to breathe? Nonsense!"

Of course. But for long stretches each day, most of us forget to breathe right -- in the deep, relaxed way prescribed by doctors, fitness experts, and meditation gurus. (See video at end of this post.)

WHY BREATHE DEEPLY? Five reasons out of many:


  • Send more oxygen to the blood. Shallow breathing is like recirculating stale air in your car. It's "used" air, except the meager sniff just inhaled, with depleted oxygen. If you want to do right by your brain and body, empty your lungs as fully as you can, and then fill up with a big, fresh indraft. Do it slowly, regularly, free of stress or clenched muscles.
  • Improve overall fitness. In a British study reported in the medical journal Lancet, people who slowed down their breathing through daily practice performed better on exercise tests. See authentic-breathing.com for a summary, and The Lancet for the original article.
  • Build muscle. No trainer recommends shallow breathing for body building; it could be fatal. "Breathe deeply, exhale fully ... keep it regular, don't hold your breath." Get that oxygen to the challenged tissues that need it.
  • Increase your odds of living longer. It stands to reason; lots of oxygen in the right places helps get rid of toxins, lower your level of stress, and more. Quoting medical experts such as Andrew Weil, M.D., Prevention Magazine lists deep breathing as one of the top 25 anti-....
  • Meditate or pray more effectively. Deep, regular breathing is a core principle of all forms of meditation and spiritual mindfulness. In fact, breath counting and observing one's breathing are among the most-prescribed forms of meditation. Reason: it's been found to work over thousands of years of practice.

WHEN TO BREATHE DEEPLY?
Seven of countless occasions:

  • When reading, writing, or working at a computer. Breathing tends to grow shallow when we sit and concentrate. Fight it. Avoid stale-air recirculation and creeping stress.
  • When driving a car or operating dangerous equipment. Keep alert and alive by driving O2 to your brain and reflexes.
  • Before giving a talk or speaking at a meeting. A single big one, just before show time, can prime you for peak connection.
  • Before making any decision. After one or a few deep, low inhales, your mind may clear, your attention focus, and your resolve strengthen.
  • When you need creative ideas. Remember, the root meaning of inspiration is "inhalation."
  • Before and while playing golf, tennis, handball, etc. See if it doesn't up your score as well as your pleasure.
  • When you get angry, jealous, depressed, or frustrated. A whiff of rationality can save you from regretable words or actions.
Here's a great video from an in-shape deep-breathing practitioner (thanks to Kahunka Health Evolution):

I invite fellow SuperLife members to post their experiences with deep breathing. In what situations have you remembered to do it? What difference did it make?

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