Are you feeling weighed down by stress? Do you feel like you’ve tried everything, but can’t seem to calm down? The answer is right under your nose (literally). Breathing deeply is your body’s built-in stress-reliever.
While breathing is something we do unconsciously, we all have the ability to control our breath, and in doing so, we can completely transform our mental and physical well-being.
The Effect of Deep Breathing on the Nervous System
You know that intense feeling you get when you’re anxious or stressed?
When the brain senses a threat or any kind of danger, the nervous system goes into fight or flight mode. This is when our adrenal glands secrete hormones that cause our hearts to beat fast, our breathing to become shallow, and our blood pressure to go up.
“During stressful moments, conscious breathing allows you to shift and release negative energy instead of storing it in your body,” The Mayo Clinic reports. “This is important, because stored-up energy often manifests as muscle tension and other physical ailments.”
Breathing deeply activates the hypothalamus, which connects the nervous system to the endocrine system – the system that controls and regulates hormonal activity.
The simple act of inhaling and exhaling slowly blocks stress hormones and produces a calming physiological effect.
By learning to control your breathing, you can trigger the parasympathetic nervous system to counter the sympathetic nervous system’s fight or flight reaction. This elicits a relaxation response throughout the body.
The Benefits of Deep Breathing
- Boosts mood
Deep breathing triggers the release of endorphins, which will naturally elevate your mood and diffuse any negative emotional energy you may be experiencing. Taking this extra step will enable you to control your emotions, rather than allowing them to control you.
- Detoxifies the body
Part of the purpose of breathing is to release toxins from the body. Each time you exhale, you are releasing carbon dioxide. Our lymphatic system is what flushes out the toxins in our immune system. It relies on breathing to keep the process flowing.
- Alleviates pain
When we experience pain, our first instinct is to hold our breath. However, taking deep breaths is what will help us through the pain. Breathing oxygenates the blood, which triggers the release of endorphins in our brain. Endorphins serve many functions, which includes reducing the physical and emotional pain we experience.
- Increases energy and endurance
Breathing enhances the overall function of the body, including the regeneration and revitalization of cells. More oxygen means more blood flow to muscles and increased physical strength, stamina and energy.
- Enhances mental clarity
Do you have a hard time calming your mind? When you’re feeling overwhelmed, the fastest way to bring your mind and body back into balance is by taking a deep breath. Breathing slowly and deeply will help bring everything back into focus.
- Lowers blood pressure
Breathing deeply oxygenates the body and helps the overall function of the body’s systems.
“Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide,” according to Harvard Health. “Not surprisingly, it can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.”
In addition, the American Heart Association recommends breathing exercises as an alternative to diet and medicine as a way to regulate blood pressure.
- Improves sleep
Many of us are all-too-familiar with lying awake at night, our thoughts racing unable to calm down. Deep breathing techniques can help significantly when it comes to getting shut-eye. When you breathe deeply you are sending a signal to your parasympathetic nervous system that says it’s time to relax and stop being on high alert. This triggers the relaxation response in the body, causing our heart rate to slow down and allowing us to fall into a peaceful slumber.
4 Deep Breathing Techniques
When you learn to bring awareness back to your breath, it’s one of the most simple yet effective ways to improve your overall well-being.
Here are the top four deep breathing techniques, according to The Chopra Center:
- Complete Belly Breath
While placing one hand on your stomach, relax your abdominal muscles, and inhale slowly through your nose until you feel your abdomen rise. As your rib cage expands, continue to inhale and observe your collar bones rise. Pause at the peak of your breath, and exhale slowly. After you exhale, gently contract your abdominal muscles to push out any remaining air.
- Alternate Nostril Breathing
Feeling anxious? The alternate nostril breathing exercise can help.
First, place your right thumb over your right nostril and inhale deeply through your left nostril. As you reach the peak of your breath, close off your left nostril with your fourth finger while lifting your right thumb. Then, exhale slowly through your right nostril.
Once you have finished the exhale, inhale through your right nostril while closing it off with your right thumb at the peak of your breath. Raise your fourth finger and exhale slowly through your left nostril.
Repeat this exercise for 3 to 5 minutes, alternating nostrils.
- Ocean’s Breath
This breathing technique is great if you’re feeling angry or frustrated.
Keeping your mouth closed, inhale slightly deeper than normal. Exhale through your nose while tightening the muscles in your throat. To gauge if you are doing this properly, your breath should mimic the sound of waves in the ocean.
Next, make a similar sound with your mouth closed, and feel the outflow of air through your nostrils.
Once you are comfortable with the outflow breath, use the same technique for the inflow breath. Be sure to slightly tighten your throat as you inhale.
- Energizing Breath
If you’re feeling tired or sad, the energizing breath exercise will give you the energy boost you need to power through.
To start, relax your shoulders and take two to three deep, healing breaths. Next, begin exhaling forcefully through your nose. Then take several deep inhalations (one second per rep). Your breathing should be coming from your diaphragm. While your belly moves, your head, neck, shoulders, and chest should remain still.
After doing 10 breaths, start breathing naturally. You should notice a shift in your energy level. Pause for 15 to 30 seconds and do 20 breaths. After another pause, do 30 breaths.
How BoomBoom Helps You Breathe Deeply
Whether you are suffering from seasonal allergies, nasal decongestion or a respiratory condition, BoomBoom nasal inhalers can help you breathe deeply. By inhaling the healing vapors of therapeutic-grade essential oils, this opens up your airways for better breathing.
One of the main ingredients in nasal inhalers is menthol – an herbal compound derived from peppermint and eucalyptus that stimulates the cold receptors in the body, and when inhaled it produces a cooling sensation. The stimulating odor instantly clears your nasal passages, making it a popular natural treatment for respiratory conditions.
If you’re looking for a natural, plant-based solution to help you breathe with ease, BoomBoom products are designed to refresh your senses and help alleviate your symptoms. Paired with the breathing exercises above, you’re well on your way to improving your overall health.
When you’re stressed and someone tells you, “just breathe” now you know why it’s the best advice.