Ask a neurologist or a therapist how someone with anxiety can help themselves calm down even when the mind is spinning, and they’ll tell you the same thing — breathing. It sounds too simple to work, but it truly does. I recently read the science behind it, and it finally makes sense. We’ve been breathing since literally the first moments of our lives, so it’s obviously fundamental to the human body’s well being.
Certain breathing techniques have been shown to have a true calming effect on the human body, and often the unconscious mind tends to follow the body’s lead. (It’s kind of like how you can jerk your hand away from a hot stove even before your mind fully realizes that you’re doing it.) It’s instinctual.
I’m talking a lot more lately to my own kids about the benefits of knowing — and practicing — breathing techniques, not only when you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed, but also during calm moments. I’m practicing the techniques myself. Practice makes these techniques work so much better.
Here’s a great article from Scientific American magazine about breathing techniques and how they can help give you more emotional control, reduce stress, prevent insomnia and improve attention.
And if that’s not enough proof for you, get this… the Navy Seals practice “box breathing” when they need to reduce stress on their bodies and minds.
A recent viral video about a big brother helping his toddler little brother calm down by doing a breathing exercise shows that their mom really understands what the human body needs in times of stress. The sweetness factor on this video is off the charts. Enjoy… and then take a few deep breaths.