We all know how breathing intentionally at different times during the day can help us in different ways. For instance, taking a deep breath in the morning will bring more oxygen into the body and into the cells to help increase our energy when we wake up. That’s why sometimes getting a good yawn in (which gets more air into your lungs) when you wake up will snap you out of your resting state. And of course, in the middle of the day, breathing deeply oxygenates your body and can give you a renewed state of alertness, This all sounds great, right? All this yummy energy that helps us get things done, but what about at night?
Well, deep breathing is good at night, too. But not so much for energizing the body as for relaxing. Here’s why: When you manage your breathing by perhaps breathing more slowly or paying more attention to the rhythm or pace of the breath, it actually can affect the central nervous system differently. When you slow your breathing down, your body associates that slowness with safety. When you are safe, you are more able to relax. When you are more able to relax, you are more able to sleep. Another aspect of slowing the speed of your breathing in order to relax is the fact that you are, in fact, setting an intention. When you intend for your more relaxed breathing to be calming, it’s more likely to be just that.
Breathing with intention also does another thing, which is distract you from the self talk that happens in your mind. The self talk, very often, is an endless chatter that is negative or stress inducing. When you focus on breathing intentionally, it serves as a distraction from any negative narration in your mind, and it brings you to a place that is in the present moment. The benefit of being in the “now” is that for the most part, the “now” is manageable. Most of our stress lies in either the past or the future, so when we detach from the stories of the past or future, we also detach from the stress that lives there. This works for present sensations as well. For instance, if you have a headache, focusing on your breath might distract you from the throbbing in your head, the same way that changing your state by watching something funny on Netflix might make you feel better as well. All of this being in the “now” can be enhanced by being in gratitude for the peaceful, stressless “now”.
Our new evening routine that will help you bust stress and slip into a good night’s sleep, perfect for the stress-filled holiday season, to keep you on track both mentally and physically. Find it here.