Breathing: You’re doing it wrong

We need to breathe for survival (oh, der!).

But when was the last time you took a deeeep breath? A breath that moved your whole torso from the bottom of your stomach, through to your rib cage and chest?

We don’t breathe deeply enough.

So, let’s try it.

Breathe deeply in…

Breathe slowly out.

Our breath has physiological and psychological effects on our bodies. By changing our breath, we can change how we feel and how we think. With controlled breathing exercises we can do more than just survive.

You may be saying to yourself ‘I feel fine. Why should I change the way I breathe?’

Here’s why you should change the way you breathe

1.  Your body loves Oxygen.

The oxygen diffuses into your blood vessels and is carried around your whole body in the blood stream, reaching every cell. Your body loves oxygenated blood as oxygen improves your overall functioning.

2. Take the (blood) pressure down.

Deep breathing improves your circulation, lowers your heart rate and reduces your overall blood pressure. With increased circulation, the influx of oxygenated blood is better transported throughout your whole body, which increases your immunity and improves your digestion.

3. Free detox!

Deep breathing detoxifies your body. Yes, you can put your green smoothie down and simply breathe deeply. Breathing is responsible for cleansing up to 70% of the body’s toxins, including that pesky carbon dioxide. So, breathe deeply to release those toxins.

4. Better than coffee.

Next time you go to make your double espresso, take a deep breath instead. No, seriously. Deep breathing increases your energy levels and mental alertness, it improves your concentration throughout the day.

5. Just relax.

As your breathing slows down, your heart rate decreases, and you brain associates that with a sense of relaxation.

Deep breathing decreases feelings of stress and anxiety. Deep breathing tells your brain to release more endorphins, your brain’s ‘feel good’ chemicals that make you feel a sense of calm. Endorphins are your body’s natural pain killer. They decrease your muscle tension and feelings of pain.

6. Deep breathing = deep sleep.

If you have trouble falling asleep, try some deep breathing exercises before bed. The increased sense of calm helps your body relax, helps you fall asleep faster and improves your quality of sleep.

It’s amazing how powerful your breath is. Deep breathing exercises may be the most portable and effective tools you have to improve your whole-body functioning.

Aside from taking deeper breaths throughout your day, it’s worth trying out a few deep breathing exercises to see which technique you prefer. Despite their differences, all deep breathing exercises encourage you to focus on your deep breath, as you inhale and exhale.

Go searching and you’ll discover a multitude of deep breathing exercises. There’s no ‘one fits all’ technique out there.

So, don’t just breathe, breathe deeply.

Zoe Lazaridis is a Resilience Builders facilitator and holds a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours).

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