Stress is something we often experience in our daily lives: it doesn’t only affect your mental health; it can impact your physical health as well. There are plenty of ways to ease and remove the challenges that stress brings. Whether you practice yoga, take a nature walk, or talk to a therapist, there is always something that can help.
Having calming breathing techniques in your back pocket is great because you can use them to soothe your mind almost anywhere with minimal effort and no special equipment.
Find out how you can take action by using breathing exercises to keep stress at bay while you conquer your day.
Benefits of Breathing Exercises
There are many ways that breathing techniques can help you manage stress and improve your health when practiced properly:
Lower Blood Pressure
Are you experiencing anxiety? You can reduce your blood pressure and heart rate by deep breathing. As your breathing slows, your brain begins to relax. Your body begins to slow down as your parasympathetic nervous system activates your body’s “rest and digest” response.
Improve Quality of Life
Breathing exercises can help people with lung conditions such as asthma. These exercises can help with hyperventilation symptoms and lung function, allowing people to literally breathe easier.
Diaphragmatic breathing is deeper breathing that engages the diaphragm. It’s taught in COPD programs to improve lung efficiency and oxygen levels.
Help Manage Depression and Anxiety
Chronic stress is a common problem for people, especially today. Proper breathing techniques can improve the way we think and feel. It can reduce the risk of falling into further health issues such as depression. When we practice our breathing, we can think more clearly.
Reduce Tension from Headaches
Deep breathing can help us relax and reduce tension. Headache pain can resolve when the pressure in the neck and shoulders is reduced. The more relaxed you are, the better you will feel. You should practice this before a headache occurs. Deep breathing most likely won’t help during a headache itself.
Calming Breath Techniques
There are many breathing techniques that are effective against anxiety and stress. Two of our favourites are cardiac coherence and box breathing because they’re proven and simple exercises that you can learn and practice in minutes. It can help to track your breath with a visual aid.
Cardiac coherence coordinates breathing with heart rate, which stabilizes the heartbeat. Inhale for five seconds, then exhale for five seconds (for a ten-second respiratory cycle).
Box breathing is similar: You breathe in and out for four seconds and hold your breath for an additional four seconds between inhaling and exhaling.
Get the most out of your breath practice.
The techniques we mentioned above are a good start. You also want to ensure that you are getting the best results possible. Here are some things you should do to get the most out of these practices:
- Find a good location – Places like your bedroom, the living room floor, or a favourite chair. Finding your comfort zone will lead to better results.
- Don’t force it – Lean into it, don’t force yourself to commit to these exercises if you aren’t ready or don’t feel like it. You might become more stressed, which is the opposite of what you want.
- Add it to your schedule – Find the right time in your day to commit to these exercises. It could be once or twice a day, depending on how you’re feeling. Try and keep it to the same time frame for consistency.
- Wear comfy clothes – It’s all about comfort, baby! You want to be completely relaxed before you begin these exercises. The more comfortable you are, the easier it will be to release your stress.
Day-to-day, we find ourselves running from one task to another without a break, so it’s essential to take the time to stop and breathe. Some people practice meditation with their breath practice, which has become another popular exercise to relieve stress. Find a relaxing position and clear your mind of all other thoughts.
Taking a moment to do nothing but simply breathe can mean a lot more than trying to do everything at once. Give yourself the time you need to relax and collect yourself—It’s not always easy, but it can help.
So remember to take a deep breath, it’s good for you!