For years I’ve been telling anyone who would listen about the power of slow, deep, mindful breathing – – how it can calm a worried mind, help protect your health, and speed up the healing process. It is something I’ve focused on and practiced for years. But just when you are thinking “Hold my beer, I’ve got this…”, the universe reaches out and smacks you upside the head.
Enter 2020. As the year unfolded, I found myself getting drawn further and further into the whirlwind of pandemic stress, political/civil unrest, natural disasters, economic collapse, and personal loss. It was and has been an incessant psychological pressure. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. It’s a lot to bite off, and I’m pretty sure I’m better off than most because of mindfulness breathing. Kudos to everyone who isn’t curled up under the blankets in the fetal position.
Modern medicine clearly understands that this kind of chronic stress significantly weakens your immune system defenses and can set you up for depression, anxiety and panic attacks. The good news is that the vaccine for stress, fear, and anxiety is already available. As a bonus, it also doubles as an essential vitamin for rational, creative, and solutions-oriented thinking -– and you can’t have too much of that right now.
I’ve had to remind myself that I know exactly how to handle these types of situations, or at the very least how to put myself into the mindset to be able to take each day head on. No matter how out of control the world around you is, you always have control of your breath, which gives you control over your mind and your body.
Mindful Breathing Can Boost Your Immune System
Maybe you could use a bit of that right now? Try this as a mindful breathing script:
- Take three slow deep breaths, inhaling through your nose while imagining that you are breathing down to the seat of your chair or your heels, filling your whole body with your breath
- Hold it for a moment
- Then let your whole body relax as you exhale completely, gently pushing all the air out
- Repeat that 2 more times.
I don’t know about you, but for me, that feels really good. Feel free to do a few more if you like, while I tell you about the changes that started taking place while you were taking those slow deep breaths:
- Your mind became more calm, shifting from emotional thought patterns to more rational, problem solving ones
- Your body began to counteract the poisonous effects of chronic stress
- Your immune system started ramping up, making you more resistant to colds, the flu, global pandemics, etc.
- Your body’s ability to recover and heal is boosted significantly
If you’d like to take full advantage of the myriad benefits that intentional breathing practice offers, start by practicing that slow deep breathing (also known as diaphragmatic breathing) exercise above for 5 five minutes every day. If you’d like to learn more about the breath and how you can take full advantage, try our breathing exercise for Covid.
For more on the 6-Second Breath, check out our book, “Perfect Breathing.”