Okay here is a little trick we love and I wish I knew when I was a kid. I used to get stomach aches a lot when I was a kid. Probably from foods I ate but as I got older I noticed they got worse when I was stressed or worried. A sharp pain that almost radiates from my spine into my tummy. I learned that taking 4 or more big belly breaths made the pain lessen or go away completely. It centers the mind and relaxes the body.
Now McKailey complains about stomach aches quite often. It is usually before bed when she is anticipating being away from momma. She has a hard time ever leaving my side. So I am teaching her “Big Belly Breaths”. She goes from whiney to happy when we do it. I have also been teaching the boys to do the breathes if they are mad, worried or hyper. Boston loves it and asks me to do it with him. Daxton uses the breathes to calm down for sleep time. I hope that if we do it often enough it will become second nature and they will just automatically breath when they feel they need it.
It has become a habit for me. I take Big Belly Breathes when I am overwhelmed by my to do list, when I feel the pressures of society “shoulds”, when I am making big decisions, and even when I want to protect myself from other people’s negative energy. I have a lot of little tools but Big Belly Breathes are my favorite. Their simplicity makes it so I can center and ground myself anywhere and anytime. No tools are needed. I can keep my eyes open, so I can do it when I am in a large group and people wouldn’t even notice. It takes only a few seconds and almost no thought. So it can easily be done when I am trying to listen or even hold a conversation.
After using this I myself for years and now a few weeks with my kids, I have seen definite benefits. I wanted to learn more. I read a ton of articles and found 12 benefits of Big Belly Breathes.
1 Reduces the risk factors for heart disease such as lowering bad cholesterol (LDL), raising good cholesterol (HDL), lowing blood pressure and stabilizing blood sugars
2 Cuts chances of cancer by as much as 400%
3 Reduces negative stress by lowering the stress hormone cortisol)
4 Helps reduce cravings for processed carbohydrates (junk food)
5 Cuts chances of diabetes by strengthening the insulin beta receptor sites
6 Improves quality of sleep by improving stage 1 and stage 4 sleep cycles
7 Lengthens the cell’s life span by cleansing the cells more thoroughly through increased lymphatic flow
8 Slows the aging process by increasing the secretion of human growth hormone (the anti-aging hormone)
9 Optimizes the immune system by strengthening T-cell formation and improving lymphocyte production
10 Improves your mood by elevating the “feel good” hormone, serotonin, and other positive endorphins
11 Improves mental focus and concentration by increasing blood flow to the Pre-Frontal Cortex of the brain
12 Improves the quality and effectiveness of meditation by changing brain wave activity from the more stressful beta wavelengths to more relaxing and healthier alpha and theta brain wavelengths.
How can such a simple thing have so many benefits? It really makes sense if you think about it. We were created to breath. We do it automatically without thinking. Breathing brings oxygen to or brain and organs so they can work right. Breathing balances our PH levels and hormones. But we now live in a world that is over stimulating, full of toxins and stressful. We live in a permanent state of fight or flight. It isn’t extreme enough to notice. But I would say that stress, anxiety and even depression are signs. When we are in fight or flight we take shallow rapid breathes. So if we mess up our breathing, our homeostasis is thrown off and we are not living in optimum wellness. So by simply restoring proper breathing techniques we can bring back the balance and health we were meant to have.
Don’t take my word for it though. Try it out yourself. Here’s what you do. Take a slow deep breath, letting the air move down to fill your belly space rather than raising your shoulders. The goal is to let it make you look pregnant when your lungs are full. Hold that breath for 4 seconds. Then slowly let that breath out. I like to keep it all in counts of 4.
- Breath in for 4 seconds,
- Hold for 4 seconds,
- Breath out for 4 seconds.
Do this at least 4 times and continue as needed.
Pay close attention to how you feel before and after. You will notice how much better you feel after. Try it right now and let me know how you feel.