“Our first act of kindness in the day is how we are breathing to our own selves.” – Eoin Finn
You breathe an average of 12-20 times per minute and most of those breaths go unnoticed, right? You are busy with your life, I understand. What if I told you that the simple practice of deep breathing could improve your health? Well, it does and it’s simple to do.
It’s important for you to know some of the benefits of deep breathing to help you understand the power in the practice and motivate you to improve your health by simply focusing on your breath and learning to breathe deeply.
Benefits of Deep Breathing
- Reduces the feeling of stress
- Decreases heart rate
- Lowers blood pressure
- Increases energy levels
- Increases muscle relaxation
When we are under stress our bodies tense up by constricting muscles, our blood pressure rises, our heart rate increases, and we tend to breathe in a shallow way.
Breathing deeply can be like magic for your body and brain! Breathing deeper from your diaphragm will allow more oxygen to flow to your organs and muscles, bring your heart rate and blood pressure down and reduce your level of stress so you can feel a greater sense of calm with even a few deep breaths. VERY POWERFUL!
My go-to deep breathing technique:
Complete belly breath – Place one hand on your belly and relax your abdominal muscles. Take a slow deep breath in through your nose, bringing air into and expanding the lower parts of your lungs. Your abdomen should rise and inflate like a balloon. Continue to inhale up allowing your rib cage to expand and then finally to your collar bone. This is the peak of the breath. Pause for a moment, then exhale through your mouth and allow all the air to flow out all the way down to the bottom of your lungs. Constrict your abdominal muscles at the end of the exhalation and push out any remaining bits of air.
Now once you get the hang of it you can remove your hand from your belly and continue to breathe.
That’s it! Pretty simple, right?
Now to put it into practice:
- Create time in your day to practice for 2-5 min./day the first week then increase slowly once you are ready. Small steps lead to big changes!
- First thing in the morning works best. The start of a new day, minimal distractions and a wonderful way to begin your day with a healthy intention.
- A new habit will take a bit of consciousness on your part to set a reminder on your phone or device, write it on your bathroom mirror or a post-it note that says,” Breathe Deeply for My Health”
- Either sit up comfortably in a chair or on the floor or lie down, close your eyes and focus on your breath for 2-5 min. Put on soft, relaxing music if you would like to enhance the experience.
- When you are finished, notice how you feel. Are you more relaxed, have a feeling of calm or maybe a deeper sense of gratitude? Be mindful of how deep breathing positively impacts you.
Remember to use this breathing practice whenever you feel stress! It’s portable. You can breathe deeply in your car, at the office or locked in your bathroom away from the kids. 😉
A daily practice of deep breathing is one of the best habits you can form for improving your health and well-being. This training will make you more conscious of your breath and you will begin to breathe more effectively. Just imagine how different life can be with such a powerful tool to help you calm yourself in the stresses of life.