Hey everybody, Mike Uhrlaub with another episode of Power Your Life. Before we dive into the topic of how important it is to just breathe, I want to start off with a question for everyone. Have you ever ignored something your kids told you because you didn’t believe them? Or you thought they were overreacting…. Only to realize later you were completely wrong?
A couple of weeks ago, one late Friday night, my daughter, Kaia, told my wife and I she heard something tapping outside of her window and it was scaring her. Now her bedroom is in the basement with an egress window; An egress window is six feet deep creating a fire escape for rooms underground.
I have to be honest; It was late on a Friday night, I was tired and didn’t want to go outside to look around. But, when your daughter is saying she hears something out side of her window, you go look.
The next morning Kaia came running upstairs again and told us she had seen something moving right outside of her window. She explained how it was brown and furry. At this point, I’m thinking she’s just making this up; There can’t be anything outside that window. That window well is six feet deep. What could possibly be out there early in the morning? Again, I told her she was just seeing and hearing things; it was her imagination. Basically, I kind of ignored it and went about my day.
Later that afternoon…
I had gotten some stuff done in the garage so my son, Garrett and I decided to take a closer look at Kaia’s egress window. We went outside and looked down in the window; Wouldn’t you know there was some kind of brown animal at the bottom of the window. I was like, what on earth is that? I thought it might be a mole because we previously had some problems with moles in the yard.
My son Garrett and I got a stick to lean over and poke at it to make it move. It was alive! Then I realized it wasn’t a mole because there was fur on it; it was a field rat! This rat was big; I figured it came from the bean field behind the house. During harvest, it must have gotten scared, came into the yard working its way along the house and fell into the window. When this thing moved, it gave me the heebie-jeebies but what am I going to do? I had to get it out.
Garett and I geared up with a bucket, stick and heavy work gloves so we wouldn’t get bit. I crawled down into the window to trap it into the bucket. Eventually, I was able to coax and push this field rat into the bucket and carry it up out of the window.
The Big Question…
Was what we were going to do with this thing? It’s a rat so I wanted to drown it. But Garrett is a big animal lover and he would not let me do it. He actually thought this thing was cute! We ended up taking it out across the street behind a bunch of houses to a cornfield and let it go.
This taught me a very important lesson. It taught me I should always listen to my kids. I think listening to others is definitely something I have to work on every single day. Most of us probably need help in that area. Acknowledging the concerns of those you really care about will certainly improve your relationship with them. I’ve come to realize I don’t have all of the answers. When I stop, listen, and really hear what somebody is trying to tell me, my relationship with that person gets better.
Last week we talked about how meditation can help you heal faster and breathing patterns are a key to effective meditation practice. For a long time, I didn’t truly grasp how important breathing is. Not just in meditation, but in your overall health. We really take it for granted. It’s something you do without even thinking about; One of those automatic things we do. You have to live but you don’t really think a whole lot about whether or not you are breathing properly. After practicing meditation and I experienced firsthand how much this can calm your mind and relax your body. I have felt the effects breathing patterns have on me.
The rate and how you breathe has a direct effect on your ability to relax. Most importantly, it will activate your parasympathetic nervous system.
Four. Seven. Eight. Technique.
This technique is one I’ve used and it has been extremely effective.
A four, seven, eight technique is where you inhale for four seconds, hold that breath for seven seconds, and then exhale for eight seconds. Then, repeat the cycle. I would start out with four cycles.
Remember these key points when practicing diaphragmatic breathing (breathe coming from the stomach)…..
- You want your stomach to expand
- Then, you want your lungs to expand
- Think about them filling from the bottom up.
- Breathe in through the nose and exhale through the mouth
Use what we call pursed lips, which is bringing your lips together and exhaling.
- Breathe in through your nose while pushing your stomach out. Fill in from the bottom of your stomach up to your lungs and count.
- One. Two. Three. Four.
- Hold that breath and count.
- Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven.
- Let it out slowly through pursed lips and count.
- Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight.
That’s all there is to it! The four, seven, eight technique. Try it a few times but try to stick to four cycles at first.
This breathing technique has been proven to help during a fight or flight response. Remember, fight or flight happens when you face a stressful situation. Cortisol is then released in excess. It’s a necessary hormone, but when if it’s overproduced in the body, it creates all kinds of negative things. It causes excess fat storage, raises blood pressure, constricts the arteries, and increases your stress.
The four, seven, eight breathing technique has been proven to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. It helps relax you. Breathing in deeply lowers your heart rate, increases the amount of oxygen that enters the bloodstream, and communicates with the brain to relax and causing a release of endorphins. Those endorphins are your natural painkillers so deep breathing techniques also helps relieve pain through the release of the endorphins.
The Lymphatic System
Another thing it does is stimulates the lymphatic system which helps to detoxify the body by removing those toxins. Most people don’t know this about breathing.
Breathing is in charge of 70% of cleansing the body of toxins. The other 30% is done through your bladder and bowels. If you don’t breathe fully, your body’s got to work overtime to release the toxins that build up in your body.
Breathing also improves your immunity. When your blood is fully oxygenated, it carries and absorbs nutrients/vitamins more effectively. The cleaner the blood, the harder it is for illness to stay in your system.
With more oxygen in our blood, the better our body functions. It improves our stamina and lowers blood pressure. Your muscles relax and allows your blood vessels to dilate improving circulation and digestion; Lowers blood pressure and slows the heart rate. So, the more deeply you breathe, the healthier the blood flow will be which, in turn, promotes your organs to function more effectively. Do you remember when we talked about how important it is to have a healthy gut? This is part of that.
Key Points To Remember…….
Deep Breathing should be slow and gentle.
Remember, you want to fill your abdomen first and push out the stomach.
Expand upward from the stomach to the lungs. Do Not Just Expand the Chest. You Want to Be A Belly Breather.
A simple way to do this is to put one hand on your stomach and one on your chest. That way you can feel them expand. Make sure the hand on your stomach is rising and try to be aware of your breath and heartbeat. You can do this standing up, but it’s better to do so in a seated or laying down position. You want to be comfortable. It truly does help relieve tension from your body.
I know we went over a lot of information today. To summarize quickly…
- Deep breathing exercises are very effective at reducing pain.
- It enhances your body’s ability to heal through reduction in the sympathetic nervous system.
- While increasing the parasympathetic nervous system activity.
- This in turn lowers cortisol levels, reduces inflammation, fat storage, lowers blood pressure, increases your oxygen uptake, calms the mind, and relaxes you!
All of these things help your body heal and recover. When it’s combined with regular meditation, its effectiveness is increased even more.
Who would have thought something you do without even thinking can actually be harnessed to enhance your body’s own ability to heal itself from within? Try this for just a few weeks and see how much better you feel. You will also notice that you start to think more clearly.
By the way!!! If you need help fixing your back pain, we are now offering our new breakthrough exam for only $49!
You can get our FREE e-book and set up your session by going to the link here.
As always, I’d like to leave you with this inspiring and thought-provoking quote from Catherine Pulsifer,
“It is hard to listen when you are talking or when you are thinking of a response.”
Until next time. Power Your Life and keep moving forward!