Outside of exercising, when was the last time you were aware of your breath? Being an involuntary function, breathing isn't something many of us think about often, especially not during typical, day-to-day activities.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Why would I take time to stop and think about something as simple as breathing when I already have enough to worry about?”
But what many researchers and doctors studying stress and its relation to our overall health and well-being are now pointing out, is that taking a few moments each day to focus on your breath may help you better manage all those things you’re worrying about.
In other words; you can use simple breathing exercises to reduce stress; a factor that some doctors feel is the culprit of many major diseases like heart disease, stroke and cancer.
“Effective breathing is vital to health, well-being, and positive responses to stress,” says Dr. Jim Taylor Ph.D., an expert on the psychology of performance in business, sport, and parenting and an advisor to zenytime—a new breath-sensing device that teaches deep, rhythmic breathing through games via mobile devices.
“Despite breathing being a natural act, we humans aren’t very good at using it as a tool to improve our lives. Making conscious breathing a part of our day helps to develop the habit of breathing in a beneficial way that will then, in time, become automatic and even more beneficial.”
What does breathing in a beneficial way entail? Taylor says that effective breathing ensures your body is receiving a sufficient amount of oxygen.
“Effective breathing increases our energy, reduces stress, enhances our sense of control, acts as a focusing and centering tool, helps us to stay in the moment, and perform more productively and efficiently,” Taylor said.
To achieve these benefits, Taylor recommends closing your eyes and taking five slow, deep breaths from your diaphragm while directing your attention to each inhale and exhale. (You’ve probably already tried a simple exercise like this if you’ve ever taken a yoga class.)
And if you find yourself in a situation where you’re feeling overly stressed, Taylor suggests that you step away from the stressor and “imagine the stress as a liquid filling your body, take five deep breaths and see and feel the tension associated with the stress empty from your body with each breath.”
According to the zenytime team, whose advisory board also features ultra-marathoner Dean Karnazes, the innovative device will teach users how to do these types of breathing exercises and more, as it will also be able to detect heart rate and blood oxygen levels in order to track progress. It’s available for pre-order now and is expected to ship as soon as this winter.
To learn more about the gadget and how it can improve your health, check out the video below.