Benefits of Mindful Breathing

LIFE'S ESSENCE - Katherine R. Oyson (The Freeman) - January 15, 2020 - 12:00am

After a few days of my arrival in Denmark, I got a message from a relative back home through Messenger that there was a problem in our house of which the solution was beyond my control because of my absence. Besides, I already told the caretaker to take charge of whatever problem might occur. So as to avoid anxiety and stress, I did mindful breathing, and said the prayer of St. Teresa Avila: “Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you. All things are passing away. Patience obtains all things. Whoever has God lacks nothing. God alone suffices.”

According to medium.com, in today’s chaotic world, many of us exist in a state perpetual thinking. Mentally we’re stuck dwelling on the past or future. Mindful breathing has long been considered a gateway into the present moment.

The website medium.com enumerates the benefits that one can gain by practicing mindful breathing:

• Stress reduction. Mindful control over breathing can alter your mental state, balancing your emotions and decreasing hyperactivity in the brain.

• Increased mental awareness. Mindful breath control provides an opportunity for deep focus, centering the mind and allowing you to fixate and concentrate on tasks.

• Patience. Taking purposeful time out of your day to relax, close your eyes and breathe trains your mind to no longer require constant stimulation.

• Calmness. By reducing constant input into your mind and taking time to solely focus on breathing, you allow all of your thoughts to settle, no longer bouncing across your brain.

• Awareness. Breaths connect much of our body to the mind. Becoming completely aware of our breaths allows us to also become purely aware of our feelings and physical wellbeing.

• Complete presence. Ironically, isolating yourself for just a couple of minutes every day ultimately allows you to be more present in the world. By truly experiencing your breath, you can completely connect, grounding your body and mind in the moment.

I have experienced that when I have so many thoughts in my mind sometimes these thoughts undermine the peace and tranquility of my inner being, mindful breathing does wonders. Fear and anxiety disappear, and peace and calmness engulf in my inner being, and I feel more relaxed.  

In fact, in one of the medical videos of Dr. Willie Ong and Dr. Liza Ong, they both suggest mindful breathing or abdominal breathing. Doing mindful breathing can have some physical and emotional benefits as explained by homecareassistance.com, which cites the benefits: reduces stress levels in your body, lowers your heart rate, lowers your blood pressure, improves diabetic symptoms, reduces depression, better manages chronic pain, better regulates your body’s reaction to stress and fatigue, and reduces the possibility of being burnout.

The website berkely.edu states that the most basic way to do mindful breathing is simply to focus your attention on your breathing, as you inhale and exhale. You can do this while standing, but ideally you shall be sitting or even lying in a comfortable situation. It’s also good to close your eyes and observe your breath. You can do it in five to 10 minutes, at anytime of the day when you inner peace and calmness are undermined.

Here’s food for thought from Thich Nhat Hank: “Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.”


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