How Breathing Well Can Prevent Illness
By Sukh Singh, Associate Partner, Lighthouse International
Have you ever noticed how your body can quickly heal wounds - like a cut or a graze... yet we often find ourselves getting so sick that we need to stay in bed and pump ourselves full of medicine? Have you ever wondered how to keep yourself healthy and vibrant so that you could avoid or even prevent many illnesses taking form? More and more, we know that we need to exercise, eat well and get plenty of sleep, but there's one thing above everything else that if we do well, we can live far healthier lives.
The One Thing...You Already Know How To Do!
Have you ever noticed how, when you're feeling tired or stressed, a quick walk in the fresh air can do a lot of good? Or have you noticed how after a really good workout, you're feeling more alive, more engaged and indeed happier??
Have you ever wondered why things like depression, stress, cancer, and disease are on the increase?
In 1931, Dr Otto Heinrich Warburg won the Nobel Prize for his research into the causes behind cancer. In his research, he stated that,
"The cause of cancer is no longer a mystery, we know it occurs whenever any cell is denied 60% of its oxygen requirements."
Now, there are many complexities around things like cancer, but what is true is that most people only use about twenty percent of their lung capacity. Most of us are not breathing effectively and this means our brains, our bodies and our hearts are deprived of oxygen - the very thing that keeps us alive! Our immune systems therefore aren't as able to ward off infection and disease. When we get sick we try and deal with the symptoms, not realising that so much more can be done upfront.
How Breathing Helps You Stay Healthy
If you've ever wondered why sleep is so restorative, among many other reasons, it is one of the few times when we actually breathe freely and deeply!
In fact the more stressed and anxious we are, the more shallow our breathing becomes. Author Eckhart Tolle has highlighted how breathing helps us relax. When we exercise, we are forcing ourselves to breathe, get the blood pumping, sending endorphins and dopamine to our brains - no wonder we feel good when we workout!
Keep It Simple...
There are many things we need to change in order to remain healthy - improve our diet, our exercise habits, the company we keep, our environments, the products we use on our bodies, our stress levels and sleeping habits...there is a lot to this, there's no single "cure".
The one we have total control over, that is simple and you can do it right now, is breathing. Many legends from Sir Paul McCartney to Jennifer Aniston practice meditation regularly, of which breathing plays a crucial part. Give it a go...just stop reading for a few seconds and take a slow, deep, easy breath in. (You'll be glad you did...)
Then in your own time, let it all out...
Give it one more go. This time a little deeper...
How was that?
Was it different compared to the way you usually breathe? If we want to be healthy, then we need to help our bodies do what they are designed to do - take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide! (Don't hold onto that stuff!!)
Looking after our bodies is the foundation for living a great life, and as I said, it's not as simple as just breathing. We need to take into account what is affecting us emotionally, mentally and quite simply ask ourselves - "how happy am I?"