Genesis 2:7 says, “Then the Lord God formed the man of the dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”
How many times have you heard someone say, “Just take a breath!” when they can see you have been riled up in some way? It’s a universal solution among many:
They are even using these phrases in elementary schools now to help solve behavior issues.
This pause we practice helps keep us from going off the deep-end. But WHY? Where did that come from? Why is it so effective? You have probably guessed that my suggestion is that it comes from the creation story. The more I study the healing arts, the more I see God’s amazing handiwork in how our bodies and minds are connected to the One whose image we bear.
When we breath, the deep kind where we are mindful of what we are doing, the body responds by restoring hormone levels, specifically stress hormones, to a normal or lower level. A bi-product of this lowered level of stress hormone not only makes us feel more peaceful, but can also reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes. It seems to also activate areas of the brain which control digestion and pain sensation.
Studies have proven (hold onto your hats, it’s not going to be as technical as that sounds) that the brain contains specific neurons, or cells of the nervous system, that signal areas of the brain activating anxiety and alarm, or to relax and allow the body to perform its duties as usual when we change the way we breath. The brain controls not only the physical responses, but the thoughts and emotions that surround these responses as well. When we breath shallow quick breaths, the areas for anxiety are triggered whether we breath that way on purpose or if we do it because our circumstances cause us to do so. When we breath deep and slow breaths, our body relaxes and our thoughts become more peaceful; we are ready to rest, ready to restore!
Breathing, mindful breathing, changes us. And doesn’t that just make sense knowing what we know about how we were created? God, in His infinite wisdom, designed us with a built in “reset” button. We can literally make ourselves more healthy by breathing, by taking that moment of stillness He calls us to take. He created us with the breath of life and sustains us with it as we navigate this beautiful world!
Psalm 150:6 reads, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!”