The Health Benefits of Deep Breathing
Stress – It’s Human
The Power of Deep Breathing
Yes, we get it, everyone breathes. Yet, the kind of breathing that relieves stress is different than the kind that allows you to live. Harvard’s Health Publishing Journal claims, we are often limiting our breath due to beauty standards: ie. holding in the stomach muscles to avoid “releasing the belly”.
This strain does not allow for the full benefits of diaphragmatic (or deep) breathing.
The article states another major reason for our inability to take advantage of deep breathing. That is a lack of mindfulness or not being present and aware of our breath in the first place.
When deep breathing is achieved it has proven benefits for our health:
“Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. Not surprisingly, it can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.” – Harvard Health
How to Take Advantage of Deep Breathing
One of our favorite techniques is a simple one.
This also works for those suffering from stress or an inability to relax otherwise
Whether you may be experiencing anxiety or stress, doing this for a full (uninterrupted) 5 minute period can drastically reduce the stress you feel.
Try to assess your stress level before you practice breathing and compare it with how you feel afterwards. Bonus points if you’re able to measure your heart rate! This can give you some concrete data to compare.
By practicing the timing of your breathing in accordance with this dynamic image and others like it on the internet, you can bring deep breathing into your daily life with very little effort.
Proper breathing techniques are quite literally a breath of fresh air
Replacing a Habit
If you tried this exercise you likely noticed a tangible benefit to your mind and body. Great! If not, ensure you are following the animation above and try again in a few hours. Be sure to clear your mind and focus on breathing!
If you smoke or vape, you may notice that deep breathing has similar relaxing benefits. The e-cigarette you are hitting feels like it is reducing your heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels, but it could just be the activity or behavior of deep breathing itself.
Ask yourself, is the only time that you’re deep breathing when you’re smoking or vaping? If that’s the case, try to mimic that deep-breathing habit without a cigarette or vape and compare the levels of satisfaction you experience!
The science is clear, your body is able to de-stress naturally when you focus on breathing.
Here are some more healthy ways you can practice inducing the body's natural relaxation response according to Harvard Health:
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Mindfulness Meditation
- Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong
- Repetitive Prayer
- Guided Imagery
Do you have another great way to cut stress naturally? Let us know in the comments below!
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