4 Things a !deepbreath Can Do For You
By Shannon Wagner, Community Engagement Intern
We all know that taking a deep breath can relieve tension and anxiety, and help us keep our cool in stressful situations, but deep breathing shouldn’t be reserved for only those moments when we feel stressed. Many people may not know that deep breathing can provide more health benefits than just calm nerves when done regularly. Check out some of the awesome perks a deep belly breath can offer:
1. Mental Clarity: Most people are “shallow breathers” (or “chest breathers”), meaning they draw small breaths into their chest areas rather than big breaths deep into their lungs via their diaphragms. Shallow breathing can promote tension, anxiety, and lead to a build of carbon dioxide in the body. Regular deep breathing spreads oxygen throughout your body and helps you expel more carbon dioxide from your lungs. The release of carbon dioxide and increase of oxygen will create better blood flow, which in turn will clear out mental fog and reduce fatigue.
2. Better natural healing capabilities: That better blood flow mentioned above will promote cell regeneration, and strengthen your heart and lungs, and improve your immune system.
3. Improved digestion and metabolism: Your digestive track operates more efficiently with more oxygen. Since carbon dioxide is a natural byproduct of your metabolism, the more you release those toxins through deep breathing, the better your metabolism will function.
4. Improved mental and physical performance: It’s common to a hit mental wall when working through a difficult challenge. Whether you hit the wall while working out or while working in the office, the wall is the same—it makes you doubt your ability to reach your goals. Sakyong Mipham, meditation guru and head of the Shambhala Buddhist lineage, says that meditation could be the key to achieving your fitness (and work) goals and reaching new skill levels. Working out your mind with meditation and deep breathing exercises will help you to overcome those mental obstacles.
How can you tell if you’re a shallow breather?
Place your palm on your lower abdomen and release all the air from your lungs as possible. Now take a big breath. If your chest rises but your abdomen doesn’t, you’re not breathing deeply enough. However, if you feel your belly expand as you breathe in, you’re doing good.
Here is a simple deep breathing exercise that can put you on the right track to better health and happiness. Now you can check in more of those feats!