Breath of Life

the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Genesis 2:7

Breathing is something we do without thinking. In fact, it comes so automatically that we rarely pay it any attention at all. Yet, it’s the very source of life.

When we inhale, oxygen is drawn into our lungs then distributed to the rest of our body. Eighty percent of the blood vessels used to take in oxygen are located in the lower portion of our lungs, yet many of us fail to breathe in a way that fully sustains our system. Studies of cardiac patients find nearly 100% are shallow breathers. The less oxygen our organs receive the harder they have to work. To make matters worse, when we are under stress we breathe even less effectively.

Try this:
  • Pick two points on the far side of the room, one on the right and one on the left. Got them? On the count of 1 shift your eyes to the left point and on 2 shift your eyes to the right point. Repeat this for seven counts of 1 & 2. Ready? Go!

How’d you do? It may not have been a difficult task but did you notice what happened to your breathing? If you’re like most people, you held your breath; it’s the common response when we concentrate on a task.

Under stress our mind reacts as if under attack, automatically preparing our body to either run or fight. This once served us well, but in modern times the danger is much less physical than emotional. Unfortunately, our body’s response is the same, diverting oxygen from less important areas while sending it to those needed to evade the danger. Interestingly, this includes diverting oxygen from the brain- the very thing needed to remain calm.

A useful tool to help manage stress is to learn abdominal diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing for short. Rest one hand on your stomach and breathe in slowly. As you do, breathe in deeply enough to raise the hand as you inhale and lower it as you exhale. Master this skill and you’ll have a simple but effective tool to lower your stress response.

Mother was right; a few deep breaths when you're upset really can calm you down.

Message for the Journey: 

When you find yourself in one of life' stressful situations, what happens with your breathing can often determine how well you manage the situation. Breathe in deeply- taking in God’s love and peace - while exhaling the tension and strife.  You'll be better prepared to remain in His joy as you face the next step along your journey.

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  1. Great post! Sometimes I need to be reminded to breathe.

  2. Thanks, Cori Beth. It's something we all do. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I learned something new today(: Insightful article!!

  4. Thanks for stopping by, Gertha. I hope it's a new skill you readily apply.

  5. Yes! Breathing is an incredible stress reliever. My kids make fun of me b/c when things are stressful, first thing they will see me do is take long, inward the nose..out the mouth. Quite comical, indeed...but it works!
    A new follower from Blogfrog,

  6. Welcome to the Journey, Jen! It may not look pretty but it works. Just be sure you breathe all the way down to your belly.

  7. Good article.  I have found that the reminder to breathe in the midst of a stressful situation is always beneficial.  Thanks for writing! 

  8. It's amazing that something so simple can make such a difference. Thanks for reading and dropping by.