What would you say if I told you that you have the potential to cut the chances of developing cancer by as much as 400%? Or that you can slow the aging process without spending a dime on surgery or fancy creams? That you could improve your mood without any side effects of medication? That you could improve the quality of your sleep without waking up groggy or disoriented? That you could help reduce cravings for processed carbohydrates (aka junk food), and actually stabilize your blood sugars – naturally? I’m willing to bet you may be thinking: what kind of wizardry is she speaking of??
Yes, that’s right, breathing. More specifically diaphragmatic or soft belly breathing. This has been shown to produce amazing results in everything I’ve listed above, and more. Not only will practicing for as little as 10min a day help reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, but it also helps you to handle stress more effectively and generally makes you healthier overall!
It’s a very simple, low cost and time investing tool that could really make all the difference in your life, and the lives of those around you. And now I’ll tell you just how to do it!
- Find a comfortable position, either laying down or upright. If you are sitting, relax the shoulders down. Place one hand on your abdomen.
- Relax your belly. This is where the magic happens.
- Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose, filling your lungs and expanding your belly. Hold this breath for 5 seconds or more.
- Slowly exhale by using your belly to push the air out, and repeat the cycle for 8-10min. That’s it!
Not only is this simple, but you can practice it ANYWHERE without drawing any unnecessary attention to yourself. They say the best times to do this is first thing in the morning, or right before bed. I have also done this while waiting at the dentists’ office, riding the bus, and sitting at my desk at work.
This isn’t only for adults, either. I have recently introduced my daughter to this practice (she’s 8 by the way). While she only had the ability to stick with it for about 2min, the effects were evident immediately. We tried this technique with her one night at bedtime, lying next to each other and simply breathing. After a few breaths she rolled onto her side and fell asleep instantly! She also woke the next morning much easier than in the past, and I believe she slept a little deeper that night.
Studies also show that children who battle with attention disorders, anxiety, depression, and anger issues can benefit greatly from soft belly breathing. That, along with a healthy diet, is cheaper than any doctor visits or ridiculous medications. Win-win!
I encourage you to try this every night for a week… then journal or write down what you noticed about yourself after completion. I’ve noticed that I have been able to handle my own anxious tendencies, sleep better, and that little things that used to flare up my temper no longer bother me. All without medicinal intervention! So give it a shot, you have nothing to lose, and so much to gain!
Xoxo – Ame