Did you know regularly practicing deep breathing can have a lasting impact on mental wellness?
Yes, something as simple as “breathing” has the healing qualities to alleviate stress, anxiety, heart palpitations, anxiousness, depression, and even help cope with post-traumatic stress.
Creating a deep breathing routine and regularly implementing it into a small portion of your day will have a lasting positive impact by slowing the heart rate and stabilize blood pressure.
“A flat stomach is considered attractive, so women (and men) tend to hold in their stomach muscles. This interferes with deep breathing and gradually makes shallow “chest breathing” seem normal, which increases tension and anxiety. That can make you feel short of breath and anxious. Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide; which can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.”
Harvard Medical School
What is even greater about deep breathing is that it can be done anywhere and does not take much time to perform.
You can literally practice deep breathing in your car, at your desk, in the shower, while out on a walk, making dinner, etc. Though, the best results come from actually integrating yourself in a quiet space, where you can focus the mind on your breath and truly allow yourself to understand how breath control is one of the very few things in this life that we have complete control over.
As we mentioned, deep breathing is short and sweet. You can practice deep breathing for as little as one minute or for however long you’d like, although somewhere between five to 20 minutes is the ideal amount of time.
Learning to relax can be tough, but by simply learning tactics like breathing in and breathing out, we’re sure it can help alleviate some of your symptoms.
What is deep breathing?
So maybe you’ve heard of deep breathing but don’t exactly know what it is? Well, it basically means to breathe deeply.
Deep breathing or diaphragmatic breathing is performed when a person contracts their diaphragm, in and out, in a controlled manner. During this time, people tend to focus the mind on their breath to regulate thoughts.
When breathing in and breathing out, contracting the diaphragm, you are essentially reducing the amount of stress and tension built up in your body; and you can feel the shoulders begin to take a relaxed position.
“Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body. Those things that happen when you are stressed, such as increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure, all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax.”
How to perform deep breathing
Deep breathing is one of the simplest, most cost-efficient, and effective mental wellness exercises with great benefits. To get you started, we recommend performing the following exercise for five minutes. Once you feel comfortable performing the exercise, gradually bump up the time to 10, 15, and 20 minutes.
Follow the steps below to maximize the benefits of deep breathing:
- Find a spot to sit comfortably or lie down
- Take a slow deep breath (inhale), which should last about five seconds
- Hold your breath in for about three seconds
- Exhale slowly and close your eyes (do not close your eyes if driving)
- Repeat the cycle
After the first inhale and exhale, really aim to focus your thoughts and mind on your breath. Simply giving your mind a break in the day to just “breathe” is so powerful and can have a lasting impact on your day and night.