The Importance of Breathing
We often don’t realize that we are taking shallow breaths throughout most of our day, but this is very common. Breathwork can have a huge positive impact when incorporated regularly into one’s lifestyle. It’s a small investment that reaps many rewards. Here are just a few of them:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Increases lung capacity in a similar way to exercise, a great benefit for flu and cold season
- Boosts immunity
- Decreases stress levels by activating the vague nerve and stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system
- Reduces inflammation in the body
- Can be beneficial in PTSD recovery
- Provides an adrenaline rush that resets biochemistry and puts the body in a state of good stress
- Creates positive pathways in the brain that will help you to better deal with life stressors
- Increases the flow of oxygen to the brain and decreases cortisol levels
Starting your day off with deep breathing and utilizing these tools whenever you feel stress creep up will bring both immediate and long term benefits. Here are a few ways you can go about it.
The 4-7-8 technique is a great place to start. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and breathe out for 8 seconds.
Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds.
Breathe in through your nose for 5 counts, hold for a beat, breathe out for 5 counts through your nose
Diaphragmatic breathing or “belly breathing”
Lie flat on the floor and place one hand on your stomach. Inhale for 2 seconds through your nose and focus on your belly expanding instead of simply your chest, filling up the rib cage space. Exhale for 2 seconds by pressing your lips together and pushing the air out.