This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase from one of these links I will get a commission.
Deep Breathing, My New Best Friend
I have recently become obsessed with deep breathing. It is so powerful of a tool. If it were invented today it would probably need a doctor’s prescription. I spend time every day (multiple times if I can) practicing deep breathing. Since I have begun a regular deep breathing practice, my life had only improved. I feel calmer in stressful situations, I have more patience with my kids, my skin is glowing, and I feel happier overall.
But you don’t need to take my word for it, check out these benefits of deep breathing sure to inspire you to start a practice of your own.
10 Benefits of Deep Breathing
- relieves pain–When you take deep breaths, your heart rate slows, more oxygen enters your bloodstream and this tells your brain to relax. This also increases your endorphins, which are the so-called “feel good” hormones that combat pain.
- improves posture–When you are slumped over, it is next to impossible to take a deep breath. Whenever you take in a conscious deep breath, you will simultaneously lengthen and straighten your spine. A deep breath causes your lungs to take up maximum space, and as your diaphragm pulls down, your torso straightens to make room for all that fresh oxygen.
- stimulates the lymph–Breathing releases carbon monoxide, a waste product, that you definitely want to release. Breathing is the mechanism the body uses for releasing up to 70% of the waste products produced by the body.
- relaxes the body–When you are angry, tense or scared, your muscles tighten and your breathing becomes shallow. Your breathing constricts. When this occurs your body is not getting all the oxygen it requires. Long, deep, diaphragmatic breathing reverses this process, allowing your body (and mind) to feel calmer.
- improves digestion–The more often that you breathe deeply, the healthier blood flow you will have, which also helps all of your organs to function more effectively, including your intestines, which is where the majority of digestion occurs.
- increases mental well being–Deep breathing helps to relax the mind and enhance the ability to learn, focus, concentrate, and memorize. The brain requires a great deal of oxygen to function and an oxygen-deprived brain is one that will struggle with even basic tasks. Deep breathing also relieves stress, anxiety, depression, and negative thought patterns. Deep breathing can help overcome addictive patterns of behavior and eating disorders, as well as feeding creativity.
- improves immunity–When the blood is fully oxygenated by deep breathing, it carries and absorbs nutrients more efficiently. Essentially, the cleaner the blood, the harder it is for illnesses to get a foothold in the body.
- increases energy–The more oxygen that is in the blood, the better our body functions. Increased oxygenation of the blood with deep breathing also improves stamina.
- calms the nervous system–Deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which brings the body into a relaxed state. The parasympathetic system function is the opposite of the sympathetic nervous system, which stimulates activities associated with the fight-or-flight response. When the parasympathetic system is activated the body will “rest and digest”.
- lowers blood pressure–As the muscles relax which each deep breath, the blood vessels to dilate, which improves circulation and lowers blood pressure. Deep breathing also slows and regulates the heart rate, which also helps with lowering blood pressure.
Is There Anything Deep Breathing Cannot Do?
Is there anything the breath can not do? In a word, no. This list just barely scratches the surface of the benefits of deep breathing. Breath truly is life; we can live 30 days without food, 3 days without water, but only 3 minutes without breath. Deep breathing has been used since ancient times as a tool to support and heal the body, and it’s just as vital to a happy healthy life in today’s world as it was long ago.
Have you felt the power of a deep breathing practice? Or are you brand new to this idea and looking forward to learning more about deep breathing? Let me know how deep breathing has improved your life in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!