Pump up your chest;
Take a deep breath,
You’re gonna be okay.
We generally take our breath for granted. We only notice it when breathing becomes irregular. This happens when we are either anxious or stressed or are facing some other physical problems.
So, why take deep breaths?
First, let’s understand why deep breathing works:
Your autonomic nervous system controls involuntary actions like heart rate and digestion. This system is split into two parts: the sympathetic nervous system which controls your fight-or-flight response and the parasympathetic nervous system which controls your rest-and-relax response. Both parts of your nervous system are always active. However, deep breathing can help quiet your sympathetic nervous system. This helps in reducing feelings of stress or anxiety.
How to practice deep breathing
You might think deep breathing is simple. But doing it right is important to feel its effects. You need to take longer breaths using your stomach and then exhale completely. Both inhale and exhale should be 2-3 seconds long or longer.
Deep breathing is also called belly breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, and abdominal breathing. Which means you should fully engage the stomach, abdominal muscles, and diaphragm. You need to inhale through your nose and you can exhale through your nose or mouth, whatever feels natural to you.
Another important thing to remember is that though deep breathing is simple, it’s not easy. It takes practice. It has the ability to quiet your nervous system but it doesn’t necessarily provide instant relief from anxiety or stress. Hence, one must practice it regularly. The more you practice, the better you will get at it and will be able to use it to help calm yourself.
Different types of deep breathing
Diaphragm breathing: The normal deep breaths.
Rib-stretching breathing: This is where you hold your breath for a few seconds and hence stretch your ribs.
Numbered breathing is when you count your deep breaths to do it more mindfully.
Box breathing is when you inhale for the count of 4, hold for the count of 4 and exhale for the count of 4.
4-7-8 breathing is when you inhale for 4, hold for 7 and exhale for 8 seconds.
Benefits of deep breathing
- Reduces stress.
- Helps with anxiety.
- Improves your posture.
- Energises you.
- Improves immunity.
- Improves digestion.
If you’re looking for a sign to start deep breathing, this is it.✨