Mind & Body

The easiest life hack in the world

Posted on 2/10/18

Let’s be real. We’re all doing the best we can in life, but sometimes we just don’t feel that great. Fortunately, your body has a built-in remedy to help you combat whatever life may throw your way:

Your breath.

Breathing well is the easiest life hack. At Happy Not Perfect, we'll often encourage you just to take a few deep breaths, simply because your breath is POWERFUL, providing relief from a heated headspace in a matter of seconds.

Sounds easy enough right? Yet 9 out of 10 people breathe poorly, taking shallow breaths which go only as deep as their chest. 

So let's make sure you do it right.

Introducing: Belly breathing.

Breathing slowly and deeply into the belly calms your stress response and activates your rest and relax system so that you’ll feel a positive shift in 60 seconds or less.

Here’s how to do it.

Breathe slowly through your nose. As you inhale, expand your belly and focus on breathing into the lower part of your body whilst keeping your shoulders relaxed. Exhale through your nose, squeezing all the air out and bringing your belly button toward the spine. Place your hands on your belly if that helps. Keep going with these belly breaths for about a minute or until you feel better.

Breathing fully and deliberately is our favorite wellness hack since it can be done anytime, anywhere.

So how does it all work? Slow breathing activates your vagus nerve, helping the brain move away from the fight-or- flight stress response and into a more balanced state. Belly breathing instantly sends reassuring signals to your brain, reducing levels of cortisol (the primary stress hormone) and helping you get your zen back.

Researchers have identified 175 brain cells which spy on your breath and alter your state of mind accordingly. When you take a deep breath into your belly, these neurons are signaled in your brain and tell your body to relax- like a little happy brain hacking.

Focusing on your breath – and nothing else – for just one minute activates the parasympathetic response in your brain, slowing down your heart rate and digestion, allowing your body and mind to feel calm and at ease. Staying in the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) as opposed to the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) has many long-term benefits, such as lower blood pressure and better sleep quality. (Only one of these systems can be activated at any given time.)

Breathing deeply is the best biological remedy to stress, anxiety and other feelings of discomfort.

Ready to go deeper? Check out The Breathing Box