Breathing is an activity that we rarely give much thought about. Although it’s an automatic response of our body, without it, we would cease to live. We probably rarely think about the benefits of breathing other than sustaining life. However there are some wonderful benefits to adding some deep breathing into our daily routine. Here are just a few of those benefits.
- Decrease Stress and Anxiety: Our brain releases hormones in response to different stimulus. When we are stressed or feeling anxious a stress hormone called cortisol is released. While cortisol is an important hormone in our bodies, too much cortisol can be dangerous leading to weight gain, high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, weak bones and muscle weakness. Deep breathing or controlled breathing helps to lower your heart rate, provides more oxygen to the blood stream and let’s the brain know that it can relax.
- Relieves pain: Deep breathing triggers the release of endorphins. Endorphins are chemical signals in the brain that block the perception of pain. It also increases a feeling of wellbeing.
- Boosts Energy: By increasing the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream, we increase the efficiency of how our body functions and increase stamina.
- Detoxifies the Body: Seventy percent of the release of toxins from our body comes through breathing. Exhaling releases carbon monoxide. Deep breathing allows the body to work less in eliminating toxins.
- Lowers Blood Pressure: Deep breathing helps the body to relax which allows blood vessels to dilate, improving circulation, regulating your heart rate and lowering blood pressure.
- Improves Immunity: The more oxygen in our blood the easier it is for it to carry and absorb nutrients and vitamins, making it more difficult for illnesses to remain within our systems. When our body is working efficiently because of oxygenated blood, our digestive system also works more effectively.
How to implement deep breathing:
When we practice a new skill, we are more apt to use it effectively when it is needed. Start each day off by Deep breathing for 5 minutes or more. I actually put a timer on my phone and before I even get out of bed I just breathe. There are a few different methods that people use. I like to breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4 then do a strong exhale for a count of 6. If you begin to feel lightheaded, you’re breathing too quickly. Slow down and enjoy how your body begins to feel. This would also be a great way to end the day. Throughout the day when you are feeling anxious, stressed or tense, take time to do this deep breathing exercise. Take your time with it and pay attention to how your body feels before, during and after your breath work.