With the events of the past few years, it is safe to say that we are all as nervous as ever. Deep breathing exercises are often recommended for calm and relaxation, and it’s one of the easiest things you can do to make a world of difference. Yes, we mean, simply breathing can sometimes help you reduce stress.
Breathing slowly and focusing on each breath can make you more focused and focused, Dr. E. Fiona Bailey, a professor in the Department of Physiology at the University of Arizona School of Medicine, tells SELF. This, in turn, helps control your thoughts, sometimes enough to distract you from things that make you worry or anxious.
“Slower, deeper breathing, where you focus on the time it takes to inhale and exhale, is good for your overall health, costs nothing to implement, and It can be done without most people knowing that you are changing or regulating your breathing,” adds Dr. Bailey. This is one reason why deep breathing exercises can be so powerful.
So what does it really mean to take a deep breath? Deep breathing means consciously taking a deep breath so that you can feel it all the way to the base of your lungs and your diaphragm, the pectoral muscle just below your ribs.
If you are breathing deeply, you should be able to feel your entire belly expand and you should be able to see your belly as air moves in and out of your lungs Fill and empty, Gauri Khurana, a New York City-area psychiatrist, tells SELF.
Try it: Put on comfortable clothes, lie on your back, and put one hand on your stomach. Now, inhale and exhale deeply, feeling your stomach rise as you inhale and descend as you exhale. “The diaphragm above the stomach is actually the part of the body that fills and empties, and the stomach reflects whether the diaphragm is filled with air,” Dr. Khurana said.
When you take a deep breath, you take fewer breaths per minute and take in more air with each breath, says Dr. Bailey. “Deep breaths take more time per breath, so you’re slowing your breathing rate, which means you’re breathing less, and you’ll be taking in more air per breath than if it were at rest.”
What are the benefits of deep breathing?
Deep breathing can help guide you into a state of relaxation, which is believed to help relieve a variety of conditions, from anxiety and high blood pressure to insomnia, relief, says Dr. Khurana. Pain and recovery after exercise.
As SELF previously reported, anxiety, fear, and worry drive the sympathetic nervous system, which controls involuntary processes such as breathing and heart rate, into high gear. This leads to the release of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which ultimately lead to the physical symptoms of anxiety (such as a racing heart and heavy breathing).