Jo’s Journal: Taking a Deep Cleansing Breath
Exhaling the World and Inhaling God’s Spirit
by Joanne Troppello
“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” – Oprah Winfrey
I recently read an article in Scientific American which shared that, “Rapid breathing can contribute to and exacerbates panic attacks through a vicious cycle: fear triggers faster breathing, which increases fear.”
Several years ago, my husband and I had a membership at LA Fitness. When we joined, we received a discounted rate on working with a trainer for six months. We were new to the exercising and weight training world at the gym, so we decided to work with a trainer.
Our trainer, Brian, was very helpful. In addition to teaching us about weight training and the best cardiovascular exercises, he did plyometrics training with us twice a week. Plyos means short. Plyometrics is a term used to describe types of exercise that help your muscles develop strength through short, repetitive speed movements.
I learned a lot from that training and used that knowledge to create an exercise plan that I still use today. I remember that one time when we started with the training, my trainer told me, “Joanne, you have to breathe. Don’t hold your breath; especially not while exercising.”
I didn’t even realize I was not taking deep breaths and I was also holding my breath. It was an eye-opening statement. I’ve always remembered that he’d said that to me. I realized in that moment that I’d been doing that for a long time and never recognized it.
Obviously, breathing is an instinctive process. However, there are ways you can improve your breathing and enhance your health and wellness, while alleviating stress.
According to an article in Medical News Today, they shared that there are two ways to breathe properly—by using the nose and your belly. When you “breathe through the nose, you can slow the breath and make the lungs work more efficiently. It also facilitates the intake of nitric oxide, which helps with oxygen transportation throughout the body.”
Your body can better filter toxins when you breathe deeply through your nose and not your mouth. Of course, most people breathe through the nose rather than the mouth – unless your nose is stuffed from an allergy or a cold. Additionally, if you breath through your nose, that can warm up colder air and add moisture to dryer air.
According to the Medical News Today article, “The most efficient way to breath is by bringing the air down toward the belly. As the diaphragm contracts, the belly expands to fill the lungs with air.” When you breathe deeply by using your belly, your lungs expand downward and that can create pressure in your chest so that more air is taken into the lungs.
Breathing deeply through the nose and using your belly can benefit your body in the following ways:
Decreasing stress levels
Lowering your heart rate
Decreasing your blood pressure
Improving endurance levels
Optimizing energy expenditure levels
Taking the Time to Breathe Deeply
“Every morning that I wake up and I’m breathing, I can feel it and take a moment to say, you know, “Thank God I’m alive for another day.’” – Ron Cephas Jones
Yes, it is a gift when we wake up and are alive to conquer another day. Life is a gift from God. He breathed life into Adam in the Garden of Eden and then created Eve as his helpmate.
“Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” – Genesis 2:7 (ESV)
Do you take the time to breathe deeply each day? Or are there times when you are allowing stress to get to you?
The Breath of God
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." – II Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)
I love those words all Scripture is God-breathed. God breathed life into the scriptures and as we meditate on it day and night, that can help us to breathe deeply—both physically and spiritually.
When we allow ourselves the chance to breathe deeply and remember the well-known words found in Psalms 46, be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10), we will experience God’s peace.
When was the last time you stopped to take some necessary deep breaths and relax in the presence of the Lord?
About the Author
Joanne Troppello is an author, writer, and poet. She is the publisher of the online Christian lifestyle magazine, Mustard Seed Sentinel.
Connect with Joanne on Twitter. You can find Joanne on these social media channels—Twitter, Facebook, Parler, Spreely, and Clouthub—with the same username, @JoanneTroppello—and @joannetroppello.mseedsentinel on Instagram. Visit the Mustard Seed Sentinel YouTube Channel.