This is a view from the Hardangervidda in the Norwegian mountain landscape in early June. It was magic.
Our breathing is easily influenced by stress and other emotions. We hold our breath when frightened and our breathing is often too shallow, high up in the thorax. Today breathing plays a pivotal role in stress research. It has been shown that humans can regulate their bodily functions themselves through breathing. Consciously breathing you can for example lower your blood pressure, slow your pulse and raise your body temperature.
On March 11th 2001 Medical Specialist Harri Lindholm at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki said in a TV programme on YLE Fem (then FST): “Here at the Institute we have been able to prove scientifically what Eastern medicine has said for centuries, perhaps even longer. Humans can regulate bodily functions through their breathing. It appears that respiration has dominion over the rest. As the breathing changes, the heart and blood circulatory functions follow. So if we consciously breathe in a healthy manner, slowly and deeply, we impact the heart and blood circulation in the same way, healthily. I have noticed this myself when doing breathing exercises. I have become livelier and more alert, associative abilities are restored, panic disappears. Relaxation through breathing is often more effective than medication.”
There are a variety of biofeedback methods where it is possible to observe via a screen how different breathing techniques affect different bodily functions. The Institute of HeartMath in the USA teaches a self-help method which creates coherence (= calm, harmony, interplay between bodily systems) by taking 6 breaths per minute (slowly inhaling and exhaling six times).
HeartMath breathing is now also practised in Finland.
You can also try one of the following exercises:
THREE EASY QUICK-FIX EXERCISES
1. Lie on your back with a bag of rice on your stomach and your arms up under your head. This automatically centres your breathing correctly.
2. Inhale slowly and deeply while counting to 4. Hold your breath and count to 4. Exhale slowly and count to 6. Pause. Count to 2. Repeat 15 times. This gives your so called parasympathetic system time to comprehend the signal and you will feel calmer.
3. “3 breaths”
Inhale again – a little deeper this time
Now exhale a little more slowly, extend it.
Inhale a third time – more deeply still. Be conscious of how the air enters you. And feel how your inhalation fills your lungs.
Exhale – feel and observe. Exhale completely.
This is a breathing exercise that works wherever you are, anytime. It creates a bit of peace in the soul.
Try doing it 10 times during the next 24 hours – at work, in the car, in a lift…
No one will notice what you are doing.