Slow Deep Breaths
We take about 25,000 breaths every day.
If you had to guess, what percentage of those breaths would you say you took through the mouth, and through the nose? If you're like most people, including me, you take far too many through the mouth, especially while sleeping.
That's not so great, it turns out; mouth-breathing causes the body to lose about 40% more water than nose-breathing. The lungs can extract far more oxygen when air is warmed, cleaned, and pressurized when taken in through the nose.
And when our respiratory system works better, our entire biology works better (and this fact is especially salient as we battle Corona).
James Nestor, whose new book, Breath (it's wonderful, and highly recommended) uses the lovely analogy of rowing. You can do short, frequent, and shallow strokes with the oars, and you'll eventually get to the other side of the lake, but if you simply lengthen and deepen your strokes, you'll get there far faster and more efficiently, and use just a fraction of your energy.
Longer, deeper breaths through the nose can up your overall wellness levels dramatically. Specifically with anxiety; we breathe far too much when we're feeling anxious. And as a result we put ourselves into a constant state of stress.
And the way to change it is to breathe deeply and slowly, which triggers all kinds of bio-responses toward a state of relaxation, and influences much about how our bodies and internal organs operate, creating a chain of positive downstream effects, including enhanced immune response.
Nice little bonus at this time, I must say.
Using the power of your own awareness to practice conscious, slow breathing through the nose is the ultimate mindfulness practice -- and we get 25,000 chances every day! All you have to do is to remember to begin again once you inevitably get swept away by thoughts and daily life.
It's powerful, it's free, and you can start this minute -- nothing needed but a little heightened awareness.