If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, and anxious about life, deep breathing exercises could be the answer. This ancient practice of deep breathing has helped people manage many problems, from anxiety to heart disease.
Breathing is vital for health and wellness because it is essential for life. Without oxygen, the body begins to die within minutes. It is less obvious and less extreme, but when there is a shortage of oxygen, the tissue becomes unhealthy and stressed. Organs that receive insufficient oxygen or blood flow eventually fail or become diseased. Fortunately, we can reverse the effects of decay and stress by providing ample oxygen to tissues.
What is Deep Breathing?
Deep breathing is a simple yet powerful exercise that can help you feel relaxed and peaceful in just about any situation. It’s the most natural way to calm yourself down because deep breathing stimulates the “rest and digest” nervous system that automatically calms us when stressed.
Deep breathing takes air deep into your lungs, allowing them to expand fully. This way, more oxygen enters your bloodstream, which then causes you to enter deep relaxation.
Most people don’t breathe deeply enough when they are stressed out or lacking in sleep, so deep breathing allows for full oxygen exchange with the body to rejuvenate cells throughout your whole body. So if you have been feeling rundown or just not yourself, deep breathing might be the answer for you.
12 Impressive Benefits of Practicing Deep Breathing
1. It reduces stress and anxiety.
The advice “take a deep breath” may seem like a cliché, but it eases stress.
Deep breathing brings you back into focus, and it brings the body back into balance.
Were you aware the military uses controlled and deep breathing to help a person regulate fear responses? If it works in an urgent warfare situation to keep a person calm, think of the benefits of deep breathing in life’s ups and downs.
While shallow breathing causes stress, deep breathing oxygenates your blood, helps center your body, and clears your mind.
2. It improves sleep quality.
Deep breathing exercises help relax the body and mind, which can improve sleep quality. When you’re deep asleep, your breathing naturally slows and deepens. Practicing deep breathing exercises before bed can help achieve this state more quickly.
In addition, deep breathing can help relieve tension headaches and neck pain, which are familiar sources of insomnia.
3. It lowers blood pressure.
There is evidence that the long-term and short-term effects of deep breathing can lower your blood pressure. Researchers found that deep breathing for just five minutes a day can lower blood pressure in people with hypertension.
4. It helps to control emotions.
Think about when a young child is upset, and a mother tells him to take a few deep breaths. After three or four deep breaths, the child calms down. Science and physiology point to deep breathing as a remedy to help control emotions.
When we are upset, our breathing becomes shallow and rapid. Our body goes into a state of emergency, and the adrenal glands start to secrete stress hormones such as cortisol, and these hormones can harm our physical and emotional health.
Deep breathing reverses this process and signals to the brain that everything is okay. It takes us out of fight or flight mode and allows us to think more clearly.
5. It reduces pain.
Deep breathing exercises can help reduce pain. When we’re in pain, our natural tendency is shallow breathing, making the pain worse.
Deep breathing exercises send oxygen and blood flow to the areas hurting. The result? Less pain!
6. It helps treat heart disease.
According to research, deep breathing exercises can help improve the health of your heart and your cardiovascular system. Breathing deeply stimulates blood circulation while relaxing both the body and mind.
7. It slows the aging process.
Did you know that deep breathing exercises can slow down the aging process? It’s true! Deep breathing stimulates cellular rejuvenation, which means fewer wrinkles and a better complexion.
8. It boosts energy levels.
Deep breathing is like giving our bodies an all-natural boost of energy without having to drink caffeine or other stimulants (but don’t overdo it). By increasing oxygen intake, healthier cells replace dead cells, which gives us more energy.
9. It improves digestion.
When we are stressed, our digestive system often shuts down. It shuts down because the body diverts its energy to the places it needs most – such as the heart and lungs – to deal with the emergency.
Deep breathing exercises can help to relax the body and encourage proper digestion.
10. It strengthens the immune system.
When you exhale, you release up to 70% of the toxins in your body. Breathing is one of your body’s most effective ways to get rid of toxins, which is why deep breathing exercises are so good for your immune system.
11. It helps you make smarter decisions.
The benefits of deep breathing are not only physical; they also impact the mind! It’s not easy to make intelligent decisions when we’re frazzled. But when we practice deep breathing regularly, our minds become clearer, making it easier for us to make better decisions.
12. It calms the mind and spirit.
When we practice deep breathing, it signals to the brain that all is well. The signal encourages both mind and spirit to settle down. Soon enough, you’ll find that you are more relaxed than ever before!
What happens when we practice deep breathing?
When we practice deep breathing, we aim to increase our breath volume getting more oxygen into our body and more carbon dioxide out of our body. Using the diaphragm to breathe deeply stimulates a reflex that provides support, relaxation, balance, and recharge to the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are tiny endocrine glands located on top of the kidneys that regulate our energy levels via adrenaline and other steroid hormones. However, they’re overused or stressed too frequently, which causes them to malfunction. When the adrenal glands are overused, they become exhausted, and we can develop various health issues as a result.
It’s also true that so many people have experienced benefits from practicing deep breathing exercises regularly that these types of techniques are actually among the most common self-care treatments used by healthcare professionals around the world. Although other essential areas to focus on, such as sleep, diet, and exercise for good health, incorporating deep breathing into your daily routine is a simple yet effective way to support your overall health and well-being.
Why should I use essential oils when doing deep breathing exercises?
You can do it with or without essential oils when doing deep breathing exercises. If you use Young Living essential oils, however, the benefits of the practices are increased exponentially.
Use essential oils in a nearby diffuser or allow 1-2 drops to fall into your hand, rub your hands together, then cup them over your nose and mouth while you practice deep breathing.
For recharging and stimulating use:
- R.C. essential oil blend
- Motivation essential oil blend
- Peppermint essential oil
- Eucalyptus essential oil
- Rosemary essential oil
- Pine essential oil
- Lemon (or any citrus) essential oil
For relaxing and calming use:
- Peace & Calming essential oil blend
- Stress Away essential oil blend
- Lavender essential oil
- Frankincense essential oil
- Cedarwood essential oil
- Ylang Ylang essential oil
- Patchouli essential oil
With regards to deep breathing, using essential oils has an additional benefit. Diffusing essential oils during deep breathing allows our bodies to absorb more of the oil’s constituents into the bloodstream. So this means that diffusing your favorite essential oil during deep breaths will allow for more profound relaxation as well as more significant health benefits from those particular oils.
How to do deep breathing exercises
There are many different ways to do deep breathing exercises, and the way you do them will depend on your personal preference. 4-7-8 breathing is the approach that I enjoy for its simplicity.
You can practice 4-7-8 breathing by sitting or lying down comfortably. It’s best to lie down if you’re using this technique to fall asleep.
Take the following steps in the cycle of one breath:
First, purse your lips and part them. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whooshing sound.
Next, close your mouth and inhale silently through your nose as you count to four in your head.
Then, hold your breath as you count to seven.
Finally, make another whooshing exhale from your mouth for a count of eight.
When you inhale again, you begin a new round of breath. Practice this cycle for three to four full breaths.
An essential component of this exercise is holding your breath for 7 seconds. I recommend beginning with three to four breaths when you’re first starting, and you can gradually work your way up to eight complete breaths.
Incorporating deep breathing exercises into your daily routine is a simple yet effective way to support your overall health and well-being. You will multiply the benefits when you use Young Living Essential Oils in deep breathing exercises. So, please take a deep breath and let the essential oils do their job!
Leave a comment and let me know how you use deep breathing exercises in your own life!
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