Deep Breathing Benefits
The benefits of deep breathing are well documented and have been adopted by many ancient practises such as Buddhism and yoga for hundreds of years.
More recently, it has been scientifically proven that deep breathing, specifically exercises which incorporate nasal breathing, can reduce panic disorders and anxiety by reversing hyperventilation (fast and shallow breathing).
It has also been proven that deep breathing can improve our cognitive function, helping our brains to stay focussed, alert and able to solve problems more effectively.
According to Headspace (a well known company which specialises in meditation - they have a brilliant app by the way!), many people become shallow breathers unintentionally, possibly due to mental illness and a lack of intentional deep breathing.
Long periods of this subconscious shallow breathing can keep many people in a sustained cycle of stress which can negatively affect mental and physical health, and even make them more likely to experience illnesses. That’s why it’s so important to carry out exercises like the ones below regularly!
For more helpful information about how to keep your mind healthy, read our blog:
Top 10 Tips To Manage Your Mental Health
Chest vs Abdominal Breathing
Abdominal (diaphragmatic) breathing, is a pattern of breathing which you are likely to do in your sleep or when you are relaxed.
It is characterised as deep, even breathing which engages your diaphragm, thereby creating negative pressure which allows your lungs to be filled with air through your nose and mouth.
- Chest (thoracic) breathing is associated with rapid, short and sometimes shallow breathing because it involves your chest only. Sometimes if you are anxious, you don’t realise that you are breathing this way.
The simplest way to spot if you are doing thoracic or abdominal breathing is to place one hand on your upper stomach and one hand on your chest. Whichever hand is moving most will indicate which breathing you are performing.
You’ll either be able to feel your chest rising and falling, or your stomach expanding and then softening.
Deep Breathing and Yoga
Historically, yoga has adopted deep breathing as a fundamental technique which intertwines meditation with mindful movement and posing. This traditional and ancient practice, which can be easily adapted to suit all abilities and ages, highlights the relationship between intentional deep breathing, exercise and improved mental health.
Combining regular exercise and deep breathing into your daily routine is the easiest and cheapest way to improve your overall health and to help you to feel younger, more optimistic and revitalised! Why not Try These 5 Gentle Yoga Exercises To Boost Flexibility, and learn some simple movements to get started!
But it’s not just exercise and breathing exercises that can help you - Ensuring you have a balanced diet filled with nutrients bursting with goodness is another way to boost your every-day life.
With Reverse Life Marine collagen supplement, it is now easier than ever to make sure that your intake of these vital vitamins and minerals doesn’t lapse, and stay at the top of your game!
3 Deep Breathing Exercises to Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Try these 3 breathing techniques below to help you feel grounded and in control. It is best to do all of these exercises in a sitting position with your back straight, with your shoulders down and your jaw relaxed.
Once you start the exercise, you can then soften your gaze and close your eyes to concentrate on how the body expands and then softens with each breath.
When you become familiar with an exercise, you can try it whilst lying down with your arms relaxed by your sides, palms facing the ceiling and your legs straight or with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
1. Simple Breathing Exercise
This exercise can be performed as often as you wish and is a great way to ground yourself throughout the day.
Some, however, can find this particular exercise difficult, and believe it can make them feel more panicky at first. If this is you, stop for now and try again tomorrow, then gradually build up the time you attempt this exercise each time.
- Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Your abdomen should expand, and your chest should rise very little.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth. As you blow air out, purse your lips slightly, but keep your jaw relaxed. You may hear a soft “whooshing” sound as you exhale.
- Repeat this breathing exercise. Do it for several minutes until you start to feel better.
2. 4-7-8 BreathingAlso known as ‘The Relaxing Breath’, 4-7-8 breathing acts as a natural dampener for the nervous system.
- Place and keep the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue behind your upper front teeth for the duration of the exercise.
- Completely exhale through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
3. Alternate Nostril Breathing
Alternate-nostril breathing involves blocking off one nostril at a time as you breathe through the other, alternating between nostrils in a regular pattern.4 It's best to practice this type of breathing in a seated position in order to maintain your posture.
- Position your dominant hand so that your forefinger and thumb are on either side of your nostrils
- Close your eyes or softly gaze down and deeply inhale and then exhale to begin
- Close off your right nostril with your thumb. Inhale through your left nostril
- Close off your left nostril with your index finger. Open and exhale through your right nostril
- Inhale through your right nostril
- Close off your right nostril with your thumb
- Open and exhale through your left nostril. Inhale through your left nostril
Why not try 5 repetitions of this pattern, and then work your way up to 10 repetitions?
Help Your Immune System
It is now more important than ever to enrich your diet to ensure that your immune system stays healthy and to keep your body and mind feeling tip-top!
Reverse Life collagen supplement is brimming with essential nutrients and vitamins which will ensure you keep away viruses and illnesses to ultimately improve your vitality!
Why not read our blog on How To Keep Your Immune System Healthy!
This blog post was guest written by Holly Everett. Holly holds a BSc in Exercise and Sport Science along with an MA in Exercise and Sport Science: Coaching Studies. Look out for more great exercise and mobility tips from Holly coming to the Reverse Life blog.