In today’s society, we’re all about instant gratification. From social media likes to streaming services, we have access to feel-good devices with a click of a button.
If only it were that easy to get rid of real problems like anxiety, stress, and physical pain.
Actually, there is! But there’s only one tool we have that instantly subdues these issues: our breath.
It’s hard to grasp the benefits of breathing deeply by reading about it. So, in addition to giving you science-backed evidence, I’ll walk you through some of my favorite deep breathing techniques so you can feel it for yourself.
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4 Benefits of Breathing Deeply
Breathing deeply means you’re breathing with your diaphragm instead of your chest. As we get older, we condition ourselves to breathe with our chest, which prevents us from getting a full breath.
Consequently, this puts us in fight or flight mode pretty much all the time— and we don’t even realize it.
Taking five minutes every day to breathe on purpose can help you naturally come out of that stressful state and into a calmer mind and body.
These list benefits to deep breathing are not conclusive, but here are a few that might resonate with you:
#1: It Can Put You In a Better Mood
There is a psychological element of breathing that directly affects your emotions. Breathing is a bridge linking your body and mind. So this means that how we breathe can affect the way we feel.
But there’s an actual, physical bridge in our bodies that makes this connection possible. It’s called the vagus nerve. When you breathe deeply, this nerve activates and sends signals to your parasympathetic nervous system.
Believe it or not, this system is what controls your mood.
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#2: Deep Breathing Helps Diminish Anxiety
One of the benefits of deep breathing exercises is that it’s a tool you can use anywhere to stop anxiety or panic attacks.
While deep breathing exercises are not a cure-all for anxiety, daily practice can help. Even just five minutes of intentional deep breathing can help train your mind and body to get back some control when you’re facing anxiety.
RELATED: 5 Calming Strategies for Kids
#3: It Lowers Your Blood Pressure
The causes of high blood pressure are seemingly endless. It can be from:
- Being overweight
- Smoking or drinking
- Sleep problems (e.g., sleep apnea)
- Medical conditions such as lupus
Looking at this list, it may seem silly that a simple deep breathing exercise can be the cure.
While it may not rid you of high blood pressure on its own, studies show these exercises are a terrific first step treatment. When practiced daily, it’s a viable option to lower blood pressure continuously.
#4: A Good Deep Breathing Technique Can Eliminate Stress
When you stress, your breathing can become erratic, or you might even hold your breath. Doing this causes even more stress on the body, and that’s when you enter fight or flight mode.
Your fight or flight mode activates involuntarily thanks to your sympathetic nervous system. One of the benefits of breathing deeply is that it can counteract these subconscious reactions.
(NOTE: your sympathetic nervous system activates your “fight or flight” mode. Your parasympathetic nervous system helps you get back to a calmer state.)
By taking five minutes to “breathe on purpose” when you’re stressed, you’re directing your body to calm itself.
This helps you fight the instinct to have a total stressed-induced meltdown.
An Easy Deep Breathing Technique
Do you breathe with your chest? Let’s find out!
Put one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Take 5 deep breaths in and out.
Does your hand on your chest move more? If so, you’re not breathing deeply.
One of the most effective deep breathing techniques is the 4-2-6 breath. And the best part is that it’s portable, meaning you can practice this exercise no matter where you are.
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How Often Should You Use Deep Relaxing Breathing Techniques?
You should practice deep breathing techniques at least once a day for 1-5 minutes.
Deep Breathing Exercises for Kids
By teaching your keeps the benefits of deep breathing now, they’ll know how to handle stress and health-related obstacles as adults.
It’s similar to teaching kids to wear seatbelts in the car. By the time they’re able to drive, buckling up becomes an instinct.
To teach them how to control their stress and anxiety subconsciously, we need to teach them the instinct to practice deep breathing.
- Shoulders back
- Tummy soft
- Open and close the mouth (relax the jaw)
- Posture tall
Then you can use your favorite breathing exercise to teach them to B.O.P. or Breathe On Purpose. A tool like the BE Buddy helps make these exercises a bit more fun!