Think about this...breathing does not require conscious mind awareness. It, like many other bodily functions is controlled by the subconscious mind. Breathing, among other things, like blinking our eyes, or the beating of our hearts, etc. happens regardless of whether we focus on it or not.

Ahhhhh but when we consciously focus on the breath; that is when things begin to change.

We’ll get to that in a minute.

First you need to know that in addition to the duel minds, as mentioned above, there are also two nervous systems that control the automatic functions in the human body. They are the Sympathetic and the Parasympathetic Systems.

The Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) is commonly known as the “fight-or-flight” system. Fight or Fight is a prehistoric response that causes stress hormones to kick into overdrive. It spikes blood pressure, shocks your internal systems, frazzles the nerves, etc. which in turn lay the groundwork for heart disease and many other stress related symptoms. When you are stressed and your mind is full of turmoil the physical body too becomes stressed and tensed. As a result of all of this, the body releases high levels of stress hormones, and this is where the damage starts.

The Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) is commonly known as the “rest-and-digest” system. This system does the exact opposite of the SNS. It actually lowers blood pressure and heart rate. It TURNS OFF destructive stress hormones and promotes a relaxation response. It stimulates the production of endorphins which are the “feel good” hormones.

Studies show that focused, long, deep breathing encourages the actions of the PNS thus allowing relaxation and healing to occur.

Now back to consciously focusing on our breath.

Do this:
By sitting quietly with your eyes closed, simply focus on your breath. Listen to it. Feel it. Concentrate only on it. Then start to control the pace of your inhale and your exhale, while still listening to your breath. That’s it. This simple exercise will bring you into a natural state of calm and balance of the mind & body. You will completely and immediately feel its positive effects.

In closing...When we use our senses to focus only on the breath, the mind becomes anchored in the moment, away from any past or future concerns. Here is where the mind can rest and find peace. The body becomes at ease and in balance, simply by focusing on the breath. It doesn’t cost you a cent. You are already breathing anyway. Try taking a couple of minutes, yes just a minute or two, and sit calmly and simply focus on your breath. The more you do it, the more you will understand its power. It will become your drug of choice.

Victoria LaBouff-Lanza

Author's Bio: 

Victoria LaBouff-Lanza has been a passionate professional in the health, fitness & wellness industry for over 30 years. She holds many National certifications. To learn more, visit Victoria's website @ OR on Facebook @ Fitness By Victoria.