At some point in your life, you’ve probably heard, “Just take a deep breath and calm down.”  It’s a classic piece of advice, and for very good reason. The benefits of deep breathing are innumerable.  Breathing exercises have a variety of benefits for the body that not only make you healthier, but can reduce your stress and anxiety levels as well.

Deep breathing can improve your energy level
If you’re feeling tired or are not able to focus on your work, deep-breathing exercises can help.  In the modern world, people don’t use their diaphragm to breath; instead, they use weaker, surrounding muscles that don’t fill the lungs to their full capacity.  While this isn’t a life-threatening change, taking deep breaths creates more oxygen saturation in the cells, which in turn activates a number of different nerves and creates a relaxed, alert state.

Deep breathing slows your heart rate
One of the best things you can do when scared or overwhelmed is to take a moment, close your eyes, and breathe.

  • Lack of oxygen can make you feel tense and nervous, even if you aren’t consciously aware of the problem.
  • However, by taking a deep breath, you force more oxygen into your cells.
  • This lowers your heart rate, blood pressure, and improves circulation.
  • The ultimate result is more energy to complete the tasks are doing, while simultaneously lowering your heart rate and helping you to calm down.

Deep breathing helps to clean out the lungs
The modern world is hazardous for the human body.  The amount of pollution in the air, smoking habits, and a host of other problems can lead to all kinds of lung problems.  When you get sick, it’s often due to particles in the lungs that are irritating the sensitive tissues there.  However, deep breathing can help to cleanse the lungs.

  • It forces oxygen to fill even the deepest parts of your lungs and breaks up any particles and residue that may be there.
  • A deep-breathing routine can help you cleanse your lungs of external particles, preventing you from getting sick as often as you normally might.
  • This can also help improve lung capacity and performance.

Deep breathing reduces anxiety
Hundreds of people suffer from anxiety on a daily basis.  They worry about a number of things outside their control, which leads to more stress and worry than they were already under.  Deep breathing can help to fight this.

  • Short, shallow breaths trigger the mind to feel like it’s in danger; it’s part of the fight or flight instinct of all living creatures.  However, deep breathing means the body is relaxed and there is no need to run.  This can put you at ease and reduce the amount of anxiety a person feels.
  • The long exhalation that comes as a result of deep breathing tells the nervous system to calm down.
  • If you suffer from anxiety on a nearly daily basis, taking a few moments throughout the day to perform deep breathing exercises can be helpful.

Deep breathing exercises yield a host of different health benefits that can be useful throughout our daily lives.  They’re also simple to perform and can be done anywhere, whether you’re on a bus or sitting at your desk in the middle of the day.  It’s a good idea to try to implement these exercises throughout your day, if only to trigger the diaphragm on a regular basis.  Within just a few days of performing these exercises, you will begin to notice positive changes in your physical and mental health.

For more information, visit Careworks.

Author: Michele Holincheck, FNP