Before my temper tantrum (aka. A child’s version of a high stress situation) reached a fevered pitch, my mom would tell me to take a breath. Your mom probably did the same. As it turns out, our moms were right.
Hopefully, we grew out of temper tantrums, but stress remains part of our everyday lives. While stress begins in the mind, it affects the body as well. If we can bring a sense of calm to the mind, we will also bring a sense of calm to the body.
Breathwork (literally taking breaths) is a practice of intentional breathing. It is one of the ways we can reduce stress. It can boost your immune system and increase your energy.
Fact: Stress can hinder the digestion of your food.
Fact: Taking deep breaths can bring a sense of calm to your mind and relax your entire body.
Did you know breathing can also affect your metabolism?
Breath affects the metabolism. When you breathe deeply, and you’re in a relaxed state, you are able to metabolize your food more efficiently. You breathe in more oxygen and you utilize your food more fully. When you take a few deep breaths, you start to reverse the signs of stress in the body.
How can it impact digestion?
When we are under stress, the body increases blood flow that is rich in oxygen and nutrients to the tissues that need it, to prepare us for strenuous physical activity. In other words, high stress = decreased digestion.
In primitive times, it was critical to human survival that they be able to escape from physical threats. Without the fight or flight response to escape, there wouldn’t be a body left for digestion to occur in. That is why fight or flight takes precedence over all other bodily functions when stress kicks in.
Unfortunately, the body cannot distinguish between a looming work deadline and running from a tiger. So, our bodies still respond to every kind of stress the same way.
Be Present and Breathe
When you are eating, stop doing anything else. Be attentive and aware of what is in front of you. Nutrition and healthy eating is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle.
Be present. Enjoy you food. Savor the moment… and always, take a breath!