Focus on Your Breathing
Another daily health practice is to focus on your breathing. Deep breathing is a long-term health benefit of staying present. When we breathe deeply and focus our attention on our body, we are experiencing that “I’m right here.” Right now I’m not in my to-do list. I’m not in my regrets. I’m just here and focusing on my breathing. I’m noticing the gentle rise and fall of your belly. When I feel stress, I breathe more shallowly. Therefore, the oxygen I’m taking in is less and it doesn’t fill up the deeper parts of my lungs. When my lungs don’t expand all the way, chronically, my diaphragm doesn’t move and becomes stuck in my torso. The benefits of deep breathing are vast on the physical, mental, and emotional systems of the body.
There was a study that went into the heart wing of a hospital and the people with heart issues were breathing very shallowly. A lifetime of shallow breathing had been hard on their hearts and entire systems. They were chest breathers instead of belly breathers. Healthy people breathe all the way down to their belly and their abdomen expands 360 degrees. There’s an old Chinese proverb that says “the healthy person breathes from their heels.” This type of deep breathing does not happen naturally. The good news is that it can be practiced. Controlling, encouraging, and deepening the breath is one of the few unconscious functions of the body that can also be impacted consciously.