Monday, February 08, 2010

Creative Health Tip February 8 2010 Breathing to enhance your mood

Today's tip comes under the heading of incredibly powerful but almost too simple to be true practices. Did you know you could change your mood by changing your breathing?

No doubt you already know that you tend to breathe shallowly when you are stressed, and that deep breathing will help you feel less stressed, more energized and relaxed both physically and mentally.

Here is a quick and easy way to help transform your mood from depressed, fearful or angry to happy and grateful.

The right hemisphere of the brain shows the most activity when you are feeling anger, fear, or depression. When you are feeling happiness and appreciation, this most often appears as left hemisphere brain activity.

Breathing through one nostril activates the opposite side of the brain: breathing through the left nostril activates the right hemisphere of the brain, and breathing through the right nostril activates the left hemisphere.

The next time you are feeling negative emotions like anger, fear, or resentment, and you want to improve your mood to one of happiness, and gratitude (which, of course, will improve your health!), close off your left nostril and inhale through only the right nostril to activate the left brain hemisphere associated with those positive emotions. By activating the left side of the brain, you activate positive emotions and feelings, too! You may enhance the practice by imagining that you are inhaling joy, appreciation, or love with each breath you take in.

You may exhale either through your nose or your mouth, but be careful to inhale only thorough the right nostril for eight to ten breaths. I suggest that you not imagine you are exhaling the anger or depression you are transforming because that will only bring your attention back to it. Don't even think of what you are trying to transform or release, just pay attention to the joy and love you are bringing in.

After eight to ten breaths through the right nostril, release the closed nostril and take a couple balancing breaths, inhaling through both nostrils and exhaling through the mouth.

Consider one cycle of this practice to be eight to ten right-nostril breaths followed by two or three balancing breaths. It may take a few cycles to change your mood, but if you stay with it for at least five minutes, I guarantee you will see improvement, and you'll certainly feel better for it!

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