Good Health for Christmas #3
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
I’ve decided that the best gift I can give to myself this Christmas is the gift of health. Every week starting today, I’ll add a healthy habit. There are 15 weeks until Christmas, and every week, I’m going to focus on just one new healthy habit. The greatest gift you can give yourself is the gift of health. Adding a healthy habit each week is a great way to achieve it.
This week I have increased my time of deep breathing every day. Deep breathing also goes by the names of diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing, and paced respiration. When you breathe deeply, the air coming in through your nose fully fills your lungs, and the lower belly rises.
For many of us, deep breathing seems unnatural. There are several reasons for this. For one, body image has a negative impact on respiration in our culture. A flat stomach is considered attractive, so women (and men) tend to hold in their stomach muscles. This interferes with deep breathing and gradually makes shallow "chest breathing" seem normal, which increases tension and anxiety.
Shallow breathing limits the diaphragm's range of motion. The lowest part of the lungs doesn't get a full share of oxygenated air. That can make you feel short of breath and anxious.
Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. Not surprisingly, it can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.
Good health is a gift that I intend to give to myself. Just breathe...