Deep breathing helps calm agitation, stress and anxiety; breathing well to live better is a principle of physical and mental well-being that allows us to take a break between the rush and the pressures we have to live with. Furthermore, this type of breathing allows us to connect with ourselves and with our vital needs.
In many cultures, the breathing process is regarded as an apparently involuntary act that guarantees our survival and to which we pay little attention. Many of us are part of a hyperventilated world and suddenly, when we feel the need or the curiosity to practice yoga, Mindfulness or Tai-Chi, we realize that breathing is more than just inhaling air and then expelling it. again.
In this rhythmic process of expansion and contraction, breathing also represents the constant polarity we see in nature, such as night and day, wakefulness and sleep, calm and storm, spring and winter. It is a cycle that has its own rules and timing, its own inner melody and incredible benefits if done correctly.
Most of us breathe quickly and superficially and do not take full advantage of the capacity of the lungs, which just expand. Under normal conditions, we breathe 17-18 times per minute. However, in the event of anxiety or stress, the respiratory rate increases, reaching as much as 30 breaths. It is a risk. It is living with the sword of Damocles on the head, an alteration that has consequences for blood pressure, the immune system, muscles and even the mind.
Breathing deeply and in a controlled manner has multiple benefits, regulates different processes and provides a way out of many negative emotions that invade everyday life.
What if we learn to breathe well to live better?
Deep but paused breathing
There is a very interesting fact that deserves reflection: breathing is one of the few bodily functions that we do both voluntarily and involuntarily. It is a great way to intelligently control the body and thus improve the quality of life.
Voluntary and conscious breathing can affect how we automatically breathe. In this way, we improve blood pressure, heart rate, circulation, digestion and many other bodily functions.
Now, many of you may be wondering if there is scientific evidence of the benefits of deep breathing, as is believed in many Eastern cultures. It must be said that several studies, such as the one published in the scientific journal Harvard Health , confirm that our body benefits from slow breathing.
When we breathe deeply, but especially slowly, oxygen reaches the cells of the body and the CO2 level in the blood does not decrease. It was concluded that the most useful type of breathing in this sense is the diaphragmatic one : you inhale air deeply, letting it enter the nose and completely fill the lungs, lifting the lower part of the abdomen.
Benefits of Deep Breathing
Several times in our life we have been told “It’s nothing, take a deep breath”. It is like a spell, a magic word that once said and put into practice, generates well-being in the whole body, an almost immediate relief that manages to calm the body and reorganize the mind. This strategy would guarantee many more benefits if we got used to putting it into practice every day, so as to make it a habit.
Here are some changes we can see:
- Improves the cellular metabolism of the body.
- It allows you to better manage stress and anxiety.
- We sleep better.
- Digestion is less heavy.
- We suffer less from muscle pain, headache and migraine.
- We focus better on the activities we need to do.
- It improves the postural axis and decreases back pain.
- We learn to focus more on the “here and now”.
Learn to practice deep breathing
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, on average we breathe about 17 times per minute. The goal of deep breathing is to breathe 10 times in one minute. It is clear that we do not succeed the first time we try, but little by little, day after day, we will achieve this goal which will inevitably translate into well-being.
Here’s how deep breathing is done:
First, find a comfortable place to sit with your back straight. Wear comfortable clothing, leaving the waist and abdomen area free, without the classic pressure of jeans or belts.
- Bring your chest forward, relax your shoulders and close your eyes.
- Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.
- Inhale slowly and deeply for 4 seconds.
- As you breathe, you should feel the hand on your abdomen lift much more than the hand on your chest.
- Hold the air for 5 seconds and then blow it out loudly in 7 seconds.
Start with this rhythm, when you can control your breathing, you can change the times to be able to take an average of 10 breaths per minute. Little by little, you will notice the benefits regarding physical health and an adequate mental calm with which to better cope with everyday life.
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