Breathing is an automatic function of our bodies. We do not have to consciously think about inhaling and exhaling, so we usually do not focus much of our time and energy thinking about our breath. I certainty do not; honestly I have spent many days not thinking once about my breath and its function, much less the degree to which it effects my mind and emotions.A study conducted by Pierre Phillipot, explained that different breathing patterns have an impact on our emotions. In this study, when participants felt anxious, worried, or afraid their breathing was more shallow versus those participants who were happy. When participants were happy they naturally breathed slower and more fully. Interestingly, in a follow up study, participants were asked to breathe a certain way and then report how they felt. Can you guess what the study found? It found that participants started to feel the emotions that correlated with the particular pattern of breathing.I find this study to be exciting because we now know that our breath is a precious gift that can be used to change the way that we feel! Mindful breathing provides immediate results as well as long term benefits such as teaching our body to be calmer and reducing cortisol (the stress hormone) levels.As with any new skill, deep, slow, mindful breathing has to be practiced in order to be effective in the short and long term. My challenge to you is to gain an awareness and appreciation for your breath, and learn to receive all of the benefits that it has to offer.