Breathe Yourself Calm or, Alert
Typically, we just breath. It is a natural function that is completely automatic and requires no thought. But did you know that breathing is the most effective way to instantly change not only your state of mind, but your physical state as well. And did you know that your diaphragm is the only only organ in your body that is made of skeletal muscle. That means, it is directly under the control and power of our thought if we so choose. You can simply put your focus on your diaphragm and command it to move down thus inducing an inhale. Or, conversely, push up and force out a breath. Try telling your liver or kidney what to do and when to do it and they will certainly ignore you like a sleeping cat.....
So here's another fun fact: the diaphragm and brain are directly linked through the phrenic nerve. That means there is a metaphoric cable line that transmits information from the brain to the diaphragm and from the diaphragm to the brain. When our brain senses danger, it sends out a cascade of signals one of which communicates directly to the diaphragm to speed things up. Thus our breath speeds as adrenaline is pumped out in anticipation of a quick get away or confrontation.
As interesting as this is, even more useful to know is that by slowing down the diaphragm and breath, the phrenic nerve communicates to the brain that all is well. It's basically saying: "no need to fret, no need to go into fight or flight state, with the corresponding cascade of adrenaline, cortisol and other excitatory signal molecules that pump us up, everything is under control" That's right, the slow breath actually signals our brain that there is no threat, no danger, no monster, no urgency and therefore, our body can go into its default parasympathetic state of "rest and digest".
So now you know how the breath performs its magic. But I'll bet you'd like to know how to harness its power so you can move into a state of calm while staying alert or, when you are feeling too calm aka sluggish, move into a state of arousal while remaining calm. Learning these techniques are easy but mastering them takes practice. How much practice? Well if you can spare 5-10 minutes per day to learn what may be the most important skill of your life, you will be a master of your own breath in a very short time. In fact, you'll see a dramatic shift instantly the very first time you follow along.
Simply watch this video and introduce yourself to the art of breath. You can continue your search on breathing techniques to go further down the rabbit hole. I know this will help you so please give it a try!!!