“Just take a deep breath and relax…”Have you ever noticed how you breathe when you feel relaxed? The next time you are relaxed, take a moment to notice how your body feels. Or think about how you breathe when you first wake up in the morning or just before you fall asleep. Simple, but often unconscious and overlooked, breathing can be highly potent and beneficial for physical and mental health. The use and benefits of deep breathing can be traced back to ancient traditions. Many contemplative disciplines such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, and qi gong integrate this type of breathing into their practices. More recently, science has delved into this topic, accumulating a considerable body of research supporting the effectiveness of deep-breathing techniques.
What Is Deep Breathing?
Also known as yogic breathing, deep breathing is the voluntary regulation of breath by consciously and actively using the diaphragm to increase the inflow and outflow of air, as well as to decrease the frequency of each breathing cycle (Varvogli & Darvini, 2011).Deep breathing is the process of taking long, slow breaths from the diaphragm. It brings fresh oxygen into the lungs, which then fills into the bloodstream, and gets circulated all throughout the body so it can reach all of your organs. It also helps calm you down, so you can feel less tense and nervous. 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. Some people are also aware that deep breathing can help you relax, even if you’re not doing it for relaxation. So, take some deep breaths! You’ll come to realize that it’s not just something you do before you meditate or go to sleep, but it’s also something you can do any time you need to calm down. The more you practice breathing exercises, the easier it will be to do them.
What are the benefits of Deep Breathing?
There are many advantages of deep breathing if you do it on regular basis. Breathing correctly is important for your overall well-being. While its benefits are uncountable, here are some important ones that will motivate you to deep breathe.
Deep breathing is one of the most effective and cheapest ways to combat disease. Chronic stress and bad posture can be harmful to your long-term health and can negatively affect your immune system. Respiratory diseases. Deep breathing can help in the treatment of asthma and tuberculosis, as well as contribute to cigarette withdrawal. Breathing techniques can enhance the quality of life and improve sympathetic responses in people with diabetes when combined with traditional treatments. Deep-breathing techniques can improve fatigue, quality of life, sleep, and anxiety when combined with chemotherapy or radiotherapy in cancer patients. Deep breathing can give you a greater sense of calm and improve your overall health by reducing your stress levels.
When you deep breathe, the body releases endorphins, which are the feel-good hormones and a natural pain killer created by the body itself.
Increases Energy Levels
When we take deep breaths, the upward and downward movement of the diaphragm helps remove the toxins from the body promoting better blood flow. Due to increased blood flow, we get more oxygen into our blood. Increased oxygen results in increased energy levels.
Calms Down Anxiety
Practicing deep breathing is a hack a lot of experts and psychologists swear by to treat anxious thoughts and nervousness in a jiffy. Deep breathing slows down your heart rate, allows the body to take in more oxygen, and ultimately signals the brain to wind down. It also balances your hormones- lowering down cortisol levels, increasing the endorphin rush in the body.
Carbon dioxide is a natural toxic waste that comes out from our bodies only through breathing. But when our lungs are compromised by shallow breathing the other detoxification system starts working harder to expel this waste. This can make our body weaker and lead to illness.
Breathing deep supplies more oxygen to all our body parts including our digestive system, thus making it work more efficiently. The increased blood flow due to deep breathing also encourages intestinal action which further improves your overall digestion. In addition, deep breathing results in a calmer nervous system, which in turn also enhances optimal digestion.
How to Do Breathing?
Suggestions Before Practicing Deep Breathing
- Wear comfortable clothes.
- Since food can put some pressure against the diaphragm and lungs, making deep breathing more difficult to experience, avoid practicing after eating.
- Set a time of day and place where you can concentrate entirely on the breathing exercise.
- Always use your nostrils for breathing.
- If you have a blockage that prevents you from breathing freely through the nostrils, you can slightly open your mouth to allow better ventilation.
- Clean your nostrils by blowing in tissue before starting.
- Sit in a comfortable position that you can maintain throughout the entire practice, or lie on your back.
- Keep your spine straight and avoid straining the body.
Cautions for Deep Breathing
- Do not practice if you are feeling ill or unwell.
- Stop if you feel discomfort at any time during the practice.
- Sensations such as tingling, heat, cold, itching, tightness, or heaviness can be experienced by healthy people.
- Seek advice from an expert if you are pregnant, have a medical condition, or have any concerns before practicing.
Steps of Deep Breathing
- Get comfortable. You can lie on your back in bed or on the floor with a pillow under your head and knees. Or you can sit in a chair with your shoulders, head, and neck supported against the back of the chair.
- Breathe in through your nose. Let your belly fill with air.
- Breathe out through your nose.
- Place one hand on your belly. Place the other hand on your chest.
- As you breathe in, feel your belly rise. As you breathe out, feel your belly lower. The hand on your belly should move more than the one that’s on your chest.
- Take three more full, deep breaths. Breathe fully into your belly as it rises and falls with your breath.