The whole concept of breathing probably seems like something that we all know how to do, but what if I told you that there is more to breathing then you think? Before we talk about deep breathing, first I would like to start of with the basics. There are two basic breathing patterns, namely; chest and abdominal breathing.

Chest vs. Abdominal Breathing

It is important to be aware how we breath. The easiest way to determine your breathing pattern is to put one hand on your upper abdomen near the waist and the other in the middle of your chest. As you breathe, notice which hand raises the most. If you’re breathing properly, your abdomen should expand and contract with each breath (and the hand on it should raise the most). It’s especially important to be aware of these differences during stressful and anxious times when you’re more likely to breathe from your chest. True, regenerating deep breathing… is belly breathing.

Improper breathing on the otherhand can upset the oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange and contribute to anxiety, panic attacks, fatigue, and other physical and emotional disturbances. Furthermore, when you take a deep breath, your heart rate increases slightly, When you exhale, your heart rate slows down. If you repeatedly do deep breaths, your heart rate will be more in sync with your breath. This causes your brain to release endorphins, chemicals that have a natural calming effect. However, if you continuously do shallow, quick breaths, this endorphin release just doesn’t happen.

What is deep breathing?

Deep breathing is a type of a breathing exercise that helps strengthen your diaphragm, an important muscle that helps you breathe. This breathing exercise is also sometimes called belly breathing or abdominal breathing. It has a number of benefits that affect your entire body. It’s the basis for almost all meditation or relaxation techniques, which can lower your stress levels, reduce your blood pressure, and regulate other important bodily processes.

Deep breathing, breathing

Many experts promote deep breathing as a way increase awareness and mindfulness. Deep breathing also brings our focus back to our breath. Deep breathing is one of the best ways to relax, release tension, lower anxiety and stress in your body, and lower high blood pressure. It also helps you cope with symptoms of PTSD, improves your core muscle stability, improves the ability of your body to endure hard exercise, lowers your chance of getting injured or wearing out your muscles, it also lowers your heart rate, improves your focus and sleep. It also detoxifies your body since it stimulates your lymphatic system. Did you know that breathing is in charge of 70% of cleansing the body of toxins

Excercise tips

Choose a comfortable place to do your breathing exercises.
Start once or twice a day for 5 minutes. If you can’t do 5 minutes yet that’s totally okay. Start with 1, 2, 3 minutes. It doesn’t really matter as long as you just start. Last but not least, do not force it. It should feel comfortable and relaxing. It shouldn’t stress you out.

Belly breathing

Firstly, get comfortable. You can either lie on your back in your bed or on the floor with a pillow under your head and knees. Or you can sit in your chair with your back pressed against the back of the chair, sitting up straight.

  1. Now, inhale through your nose and allow your belly to get filled with air.
  2. Exhale through your nose.
  3. Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest.
  4. As you inhale, feel your belly rise and as you exhale feel your belly drop. It’s important here that the hand on your belly moves more than the hand on your chest.
  5. Exhale through pursed lips as if you were whistling.
  6. Take 3-10 more full and deep breaths and feel your belly rise and drop with every breath.

4-7-8 breathing

Are you having trouble relaxing or sleeping? The 4-7-8 deep breathing technique is another Pranayama breathing technique great for relaxation, better sleep and even managing anger and cravings. It can be used throughout the whole day; however, we do recommend doing it before bed as it allows the whole body to relax.

  1. Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest as in belly breathing.
  2. Take a deep, slow breath from your belly and slowly count to 4 as you inhale.
  3. Hold your breath and count from 1 to 7 in your mind.
  4. Exhale completely and count from 1 to 8 in your mind.
  5. Try to get all the air out by the time you reach 8.
  6. Repeat 3-7 times.

The two breathing techniques that were mentioned here are just a few of the many techniques that exist. Thank you for joining us today and learning about breathing. If you are interested in more breathing techniques click HERE. Follow us @mykeytohappiness_official on Instagram and mykeytohappiness on YouTube to stay up to date.

Do you practice deep breathing or 4-7-8 breathing? Let us know!

Stay healthy and safe friends!

Cited works

1 Ankrom, S. (2020, April 3). Deep Breathing Exercises to Reduce Anxiety. Retrieved from verywellmind: https://www.verywellmind.com/abdominal-breathing-2584115
2 Arnold, A. (2018, December 28). What Deep Breathing Does to Your Body. Retrieved from thecut: https://www.thecut.com/2018/12/what-deep-breathing-does-to-your-body.html
3 Burgess, P. (2019, December 15). Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation. Retrieved from Michigan Medicine: https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/uz2255
4 Calm With Yoga. (2020, May 13). The Dangers Of Deep Breathing (When Done Incorrectly). Retrieved from Calm With Yoga: https://www.calmwithyoga.com/dangers-deep-breathing-done-incorrectly/
5 Cuncic, A. (2019, September 30). How Do I Practice Deep Breathing for Anxiety? Retrieved from verywellmind: https://www.verywellmind.com/how-do-i-practice-deep-breathing-for-anxiety-3024389
6 Harvard Health. (2009, May). Take a deep breath. Retrieved from Harvard Health: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/take-a-deep-breath
7 Jewell, T. (2018, September 25). Diaphragmatic Breathing and Its Benefits. Retrieved from healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/diaphragmatic-breathing
8 Neurocore. (2019, April 23). Does Deep Breathing Really Do Anything? Retrieved from Neurocore: https://www.neurocorecenters.com/blog/does-deep-breathing-really-do-anything
9 PRINCING, M. (2018, June 4). This Is Why Deep Breathing Makes You Feel so Chill. Retrieved from Right as Rain by UW Medicine: https://rightasrain.uwmedicine.org/mind/stress/why-deep-breathing-makes-you-feel-so-chill
10 Shakeshaft, J. (2020, March 8). Breathing Exercises: 6 Ways to Breathe Yourself Calm. Retrieved from greatist: https://greatist.com/happiness/breathing-exercises-relax
11 timesofindia. (2017, September 13). Health Benefits of Deep Breathing Exercise. Retrieved from timesofindia: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/fitness/advantages-of-deep-breathing-exercises/articleshow/19213960.cms
12 Watkins, A. (n.d.). Benefits of Deep Breathing. Retrieved from Urban Balance: https://urbanbalance.com/benefits-deep-breathing/

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