Breath is the most potent tool to change the way we feel. Softening it can instantly soothe stress and create clarity in our thinking. Studies are now consistently showing that a child at the height of a tantrum or an adult in the midst of a panic attack can induce positive and regress negative emotions by slowing the rhythm and depth of our breath.
If you are in a panic state as a result of acute low back pain for example, you will likely spend more time inhaling than when in a calm state. Thus, our body’s innate response to fear with faster breathing will mean an increase in breathing rate, however will become shorter and begin a vicious cycle of muscle spasm, brain reactivity and protection. Nasal breathing when you are inhaling results in a synchronization of brain pathways and importantly, our emotional network.
Nasal breathing warms, filters and moistens the air before it reaches the lungs; so many of us are missing this opportunity. Not only can nasal breathing activate the relaxation response, breathing through the nose can also help us respond faster when we are in trouble.
Simply focusing your attention on your breathing without doing anything to change it can move you into a state of relaxation.
Perform a nasal breath in for four seconds, hold the breath for seven seconds and exhale completely to a count of eight. Repeat this technique four to five times. Many users who have stayed with this technique for only a few days seem to fall asleep within one to two minutes.
Utilize nasal breathing as a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. As with anything, this gains power with repetition and practice. Attempt to perform the exercise two times daily and begin to settle your nervous system down!