Oxygen is essential for so many of your bodily functions, and taking the time to do some deep breathing each day can make a huge difference in your overall health. We all know breath is an integral part of living, but what you might not realize is that the way you breathe can make a big difference in your overall health. Many of us only breathe through our chest, but ideally, you should be breathing all the way through to your stomach.
Deep breathing is essential for your circulation. When you breathe deeply, the oxygen goes through the best possible pathways – straight through the lungs and into your blood, where it circulates throughout the body and supports your cells. If you don’t breathe deeply, you could end up with low levels of oxygen in your blood. It’s also common to develop a rapid heartbeat from this, as your body tries to compensate for the low levels of oxygen by pumping blood faster. With better circulation comes more efficient bodily functions, like digestion, which can make it easier for you to maintain a healthy weight.
Additionally, deep breathing is a natural stress reliever, so it’s beneficial when you are feeling tense or overwhelmed. This practice can help slow your heartbeat when you feel panicked, and it will also send oxygen through your body to help you feel more energized. Deep breathing even releases positive chemicals in your brain, which will help you feel happier and more relaxed.
There are a few different ways you can approach deep breathing. Some of the best breathing techniques include:
- Progressive muscle relaxation. This is a great way to get started with deep breathing and can also serve as a form of medication. Lie down somewhere comfortable and close your eyes. Take a deep breath in and tense the muscles in your feet. When you exhale, relax them. Then, move onto the calves and repeat this all the way up your body. This will not only help normalize your breathing and calm your mind, but it’s a great way to let go of any muscle tension that has built up throughout the day.
- Seated belly breathing. You can also practice deep breathing in a seated position. Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Breathe in through your nose and pay attention to your belly filling up with oxygen. Then, let the breath go and feel the sweet release as your body exhales. This will essentially help you train your body to breathe correctly throughout the day.
- Counted breaths. Sometimes it helps to have a neutral word or concept to focus on while you are practicing deep breathing. Start with a deep breath to calm yourself, and then start belly breathing while counting back from ten. Notice any tension that has built up in your body and let it release with each exhale.
These are techniques that are very easy to do when you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious. Making a habit of doing a little bit of deep breathing each day is an excellent way to improve your overall health.