Did you know that your breath is THE essential energy source available to you because it affects all the different dimensions of your life – your mind, body, spirit, health performance, and emotions?
That’s why everybody should be taking advantage of it.
Why is deep breathing good for stress management?
Unfortunately, we are bombarded with numerous stress-inducing factors every day. From the continuous pressure at work to the obligations at home that never seem to end – life is tough.
Yet stressors don’t just have to be small things that accumulate over time. It can also be a significant life event that comes out of the blue and turns your world upside down.
Regardless of how stress creeps into your life, the problems of dealing with it are the same.
Fortunately, one technique has been proven to help you cope with stress: deep breathing. This calming technique has many benefits besides lowering stress levels, such as improved circulation and better sleep.
Read on to discover how deep breathing can make you healthier, more robust, and less anxious.
Deep breathing allows you to increase the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream. More oxygen means your cardiovascular system works twice as fast.
Once your brain detects this substantial amount of oxygen in your system, it responds with several actions. First of all, it reduces the concentration of stress hormones. As a result, you calm down and become less stressed.
What is deep breathing?
Deep breathing is a technique designed to help you achieve inner peace and a sense of calm. The point of deep breathing is that you breathe through your belly rather than through your chest, as usual.
When you are calm and relaxed, you breathe through your nose and take slow, steady breaths. But our “fight or flight” response kicks in when something stresses us.
In this case, we breathe faster and shallower to increase the oxygen supply. More oxygen means more blood flowing to our extremities so we can take cover or fight for our lives.
But in today’s modern world, we don’t run or fight. Instead, we create an imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide that cannot escape, which affects our health and well-being.
Abdominal breathing helps to control the nervous system by reducing the release of stress hormones. This encourages the body to calm down and relax, leading to a reduction in anxiety. This again increases your overall sense of well-being.
What are the benefits of deep breathing?
Here are some physiological benefits of controlled, deep breathing:
- Lowering heart rate and blood pressure
- Reduced accumulation of lactic acid in muscle tissue
- Strengthened immune system
- Increased physical energy
- Reduced levels of stress hormones
- Renewed increase in oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood
- Increased feelings of calm and relaxation
- In addition, deep abdominal breathing prevents various diseases and conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
Not only that, but deep breathing also helps you to focus better on what you are doing. Instead of making hasty decisions, you can take the time to think things through.
Nice side effect – Abdominal breathing helps lose weight
Proper breathing increases your metabolism and, therefore, can help you lose weight. The problem is that most people don’t breathe properly; 9 out of 10 people practice what doctors call futile breathing. This means that most of us take in about a third of the oxygen we’re capable of taking in. So what happens is our cells slow down, and so does our metabolism.
To run correctly and burn calories and fat, it needs more oxygen which it is provided with when you practice deep breathing.
How does deep breathing work?
If you haven’t done so, it’s time to tap into this remarkable resource. Start today and follow the steps below to perform simple deep breathing exercises:
- First, place your right hand on your stomach near your navel.
- Then place your left hand on the center of your chest.
Some people find it helpful to close their eyes. You can try this out and see if you feel comfortable.
- Next, breathe in and out fully a few times to move from chest to abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing.
- Then take a deep breath, focusing on lifting your belly as your lungs fill with air.
As you do this, your belly should expand about an inch.
- Then slowly let the breath out.
As you exhale, most of the movement should be in the area below your right hand. Your chest should move only slightly.
- Concentrate on how you feel with each inhale and exhale. Repeat the exercise 5-7 times.
Further tips and tricks for deep breathing
Here are some tips and tricks you can use the next time you use the deep breathing technique to reverse your stress reactions and feel calmer.
The trick to transitioning from chest breathing to belly breathing is to take the first two complete exhalations.
By expelling the air from the bottom of your lungs, a vacuum is created that allows you to transition to belly breathing on your next inhale. Then pause for a second or two before slowly inhaling.
The recommended breathing is through the nose. However, some people take a while to get used to nasal breathing. In the meantime, you can also breathe through your mouth until you feel more comfortable.
Avoid taking more than five deep breaths. Taking more than five breaths makes most people feel dizzy. If this sounds familiar, take 2-3 breaths at a time, so you do not feel dizzy or lose your balance.
Key take away
Deep belly breathing makes you feel better in every way. Your stress level goes down, and you experience better sleep, better emotional control, and improved attention. Plus, it paves the way to a healthy weight.
Why not tap into this remarkable resource right now, no matter where you are or what you’re doing? Just take a few moments to practice the simple deep breathing exercise above.
If you do it regularly, you will see that after only a few days, abdominal breathing will become more natural to you, and you may even start doing it unconsciously.