Breathing correctly helps release tension, relaxes the body, relieves pain, helps digestion, strengthens the heart and lungs, boosts energy levels and mood.
You would think that breathing is something we all do without needing to worry about it. However, when we are anxious or stressed our breathing can become shallow and fast. This is part of the bodies response to stress hormones. We are gearing up to prepare for fight or flight. This can have a negative effect on our physical and emotional well being, however. Being in a state of stress for prolonged periods of time can be very damaging. It can lead to physical problems as well as anxiety disorders and depression.
For me, the biggest benefit of correct breathing is that it helps to slow my mind activity, relax my body and helps me connect with a peaceful place within. If you need a quick way to relieve anxiety, compose yourself and focus, these techniques can really help. Even breathing more deeply for a minute or two can help lower stress hormones, reduce anxiety and make us feel calm.
There are many different breathing techniques available but I have two which I prefer because they are so simple.
Watching the breath
The first involves doing nothing but being aware of your breath and noticing yourself breathing in and out. This moves your focus from your mind to your breath making you feel calmer and more still.
As you do this, your breathing will probably slow down and become deeper automatically. You will find your body becomes more relaxed and your mind becomes calmer. Breathing this way interrupts the stress responses in the body that result from negative thinking and worrying.
The reason I like this technique so much is that there is no sense of ‘trying’ involved and there is absolutely no right or wrong way to do it. You simply focus your attention on your breath – that’s all.
The reason I like this technique so much is that there is no sense of ‘trying’ involved. Also, there is absolutely no right or wrong way to do it. You simply focus your attention on your breath – that’s all.
The second technique is also very simple. You just imagine you are blowing soap bubbles. Take a deep breath in and blow a long smooth breath out, as if you were trying to blow a stream of beautiful bubbles. It’s as easy as that. You could take this one step further and buy some bubbles to practise.
While these techniques may seem too simple to make much difference, I encourage you to try them. Taking a moment to breathe more deeply whenever you are stressed of anxious can really make a big difference to the way you feel. It can also improve your long term health. It’s also a good idea to take a couple of minutes each day to practice deep breathing. This will help you on a daily basis as well as standing you in good stread when stresseful sitautions arise.
If you are interested in further breathing techniques there is a great post at Tiny Buddha that I highly recommend.