Last Updated on February 17, 2023 by Lori Geurin
When I first learned about deep breathing, I was suffering from chronic pain and fatigue. After reading that deep breathing might enhance my overall health and well-being, I decided to give it a try. After only a few weeks of practice, I noticed a big difference in my energy and mental clarity. My chronic pain was also relieved.
Now, I do deep breathing exercises every day, and I can safely say that it has improved my life significantly. If you’re looking for a way to enhance your health and wellness, I highly recommend giving deep breathing a try.
When was the last time you took a deep breath? If it’s been a while, now is the time to start! Deep breathing has many benefits for your health and wellness. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of deep breathing and how you can start incorporating it into your daily routine.
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- What Is Diaphragmatic Breathing?
- How To Do Diaphragmatic Breathing
- Deep Breathing Benefits
- Deep Breathing Exercises
- Final Thoughts About Deep Breathing
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What Is Diaphragmatic Breathing?
Also known as belly breathing or deep breathing, it’s a type of breathing that engages the diaphragm, a muscle located at the base of the lungs.
When you breathe normally, your chest does most of the work and your belly remains relatively still. However, when you practice diaphragmatic breathing, you use your diaphragm to push air out of your lungs, causing your belly to fall. This type of breathing is often used in yoga and meditation, as it has a calming effect on the body and mind.
How To Do Diaphragmatic Breathing
Now that you know what diaphragmatic breathing is, let’s discuss how to do it. The first step is to find a comfortable place to sit or lie down. Once you’re in a comfortable position, place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest.
Inhale slowly through your nose, allowing your belly to expand as you fill your lungs with air. You should feel your stomach rising, but your chest should remain relatively still. Exhale slowly through your mouth, allowing your belly to fall as you empty your lungs of air.
Repeat this breathing pattern for a few minutes or until you feel calm and relaxed. If you find it difficult to breathe deeply at first, that’s perfectly normal. Just keep practicing, and eventually, it will become easier!
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Deep Breathing Benefits
Let’s look at the advantages of diaphragmatic deep breathing now that we’ve learned how to do it.
1. Improved Circulation
One of the benefits of deep breathing is improved circulation.[*] When you breathe deeply, it helps to move blood and lymph fluid through your body.
2. Weight Loss
According to recent studies, performing breathing exercises daily may help you lose weight and body fat.[*]
Breathing exercises have also been linked to a decrease in hunger and cravings, as well as improved stress levels, which can lead to weight loss.
3. Enhanced Relaxation
Deep breathing is often used as a relaxation technique, as it can help to reduce stress and anxiety. When you’re feeling stressed, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode, which releases hormones like cortisol.
Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone,” and it can have negative effects on your health, including weight gain, anxiety, and high blood pressure.[*] By taking deep breaths, you can help to lower your cortisol levels and feel more relaxed.
4. Reduced Stress
Stress reduction is one of the most popular benefits of deep breathing.[*] When you’re stressed, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode, which means your heart rate and blood pressure increase and you start to breathe more shallowly. This can lead to a host of health problems, including anxiety, insomnia, and even heart disease.
Deep breathing helps to reverse the effects of stress by slowing down the heart rate and lowering blood pressure. It also helps to improve circulation and increase oxygen intake. In other words, it helps your body to relax and function more efficiently.
5. Faster Recovery
Deep breathing helps your body to better withstand intense exercise. It also helps your body to recover faster from intense workouts. This is because deep breathing helps to improve the function of your respiratory system. Breathing exercises were found to enhance respiration in COVID-19 patients.[*]
When you breathe deeply, your lungs take in more oxygen. This oxygen is then circulated to your muscles and organs, which helps them to function better.
6. Reduced Blood Pressure
Practicing deep breathing exercises can help to lower your blood pressure. When you take deep breaths, it signals your body to relax, which can help to reduce the tension in your muscles and vessels. This can lead to a decrease in your blood pressure and improved concentration.[*]
7. Reduced Pain
The study results suggest that the way you breathe affects how your body deals with pain and the autonomic nervous system. This means that deep slow breathing along with relaxation is key in reducing sympathetic arousal and pain perception.[*]
8. Enhanced Energy Levels
When you breathe deeply, you are oxygenating your cells and tissues, which helps to improve their function. This can lead to enhanced energy levels and improved stamina.
Deep breathing also helps to reduce stress and anxiety, which can sap your energy levels. By taking some time out to practice deep breathing, you can help to increase your energy levels and feel more alert and focused.
9. Improved Mood
Deep breathing has been shown to improve mood in studies, however, more study is needed to determine for sure.[*] When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that can cause feelings of anxiety and depression.
Deep breathing helps to lower cortisol levels and promote the production of endorphins, which are hormones that have a positive effect on your mood.
Deep Breathing Exercises
Ready to experience all of the benefits of deep breathing? Great! Follow the instructions below to get started.
Basic Deep Breathing Practice
Start by sitting in a comfortable position with your spine straight. Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Slowly inhale through your nose, filling up your stomach first and then your chest. As you exhale, push all of the air out from your chest and then your stomach. Repeat this process for 5 -10 minutes.
You can also try the following deep breathing exercise:
Inhale for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of seven, and exhale for a count of eight. Repeat this cycle four times. This particular breathing technique is great for relaxation and stress relief.
I love to do this before I go to sleep because it really helps me to wind down and relax.
There you have it! Two simple and effective deep breathing exercises that you can do anywhere, anytime. Give them a try and see how they make you feel. Namaste!
What does taking a deep breath do to the body?
When you take a deep breath, your lungs take in more oxygen. This oxygen is then circulated to your muscles and organs, which helps them to function better. Additionally, deep breathing helps to reverse the effects of stress by slowing down the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.
It also helps to improve circulation and increase oxygen intake. In other words, taking a deep breath does a lot of good for the body! Give it a try next time you’re feeling stressed or anxious. You might just be surprised at how much it helps.
How do I know if I’m breathing correctly?
The best way to know if you’re breathing correctly is to pay attention to your body. If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, your breathing will likely be shallow and fast.
When you’re relaxed, your breathing should be deep and slow. If you notice that your breathing is shallow or fast, take a few deep breaths and see if it makes a difference.
You might also want to try some of the deep breathing techniques listed above. Doing these regularly can help you to train your body to breathe more deeply and slowly, even when you’re feeling stressed.
Final Thoughts About Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is a simple yet powerful tool that you can use to improve your health and wellbeing. By taking some time out to practice deep breathing, you can help to reduce stress, improve your mental health, and feel more energized. Give it a try and see for yourself!
Do you have any favorite deep breathing exercises? Share them in the comments below!