Do you feel overwhelmed and emotionally out of control? Does stress win nine out of 10 times?
The solution is literally right under your nose.
Okay – take a deep breath. Deep breathing is literally your body’s natural coping mechanism for stress.
Although breathing happens unconsciously, we can control the way we breathe. And when we learn how to do that, it’s a complete game changer for our overall health.
How Deep Breathing Rewires Your Nervous System (In a Good Way!)
You know the feeling when your heart starts racing, your breath speeds up, and your muscles tighten? That’s your body’s fight-or-flight response to a stressful situation.
Want to learn more about your nervous system and fight-or-flight? Read: Here’s What Fight-or-Flight Really Means and How to Use It to Your Advantage
The moment your brain perceives danger, your sympathetic nervous system is activated. Adrenaline starts pumping through your blood and this is what causes your senses to sharpen: shortness of breath, faster heartbeat, and tighter muscles. This is your body is preparing to fight or run for the hills.
While shallow breathing restricts the diaphragm’s range of motion, deep breathing does the opposite.
“Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide,” Harvard Health reports. “Not surprisingly, it can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.”
This explains why inhaling and exhaling slowly elicits a relaxing physiological effect. When you learn to breathe deeply, you activate the parasympathetic nervous system which gets you out of stress mode and into a state of relaxation.
Here Are 4 Serious Deep Breathing Benefits:
The health benefits of deep breathing are truly remarkable.
1. Deep Breathing Increases Focus
Do you feel like you’re going in 10 different directions? It’s exhausting when the wheels are always spinning.
The good news is that getting focused is often as simple as taking a deep, cleansing breath. Science confirms it.
According to Science Daily, “It is possible that by focusing on and regulating your breathing you can optimize your attention level and likewise, by focusing on your attention level, your breathing becomes more synchronized.”
2. Improves Mood
When you’re emotionally out of control, it can be physically and mentally draining.
Taking deep breaths releases endorphins, which brings you into a more positive mental state. So, the next time you’re feeling upset or angry, inhale and exhale slowly. Never underestimate the power of your breath.
3. Reduces Pain
Can you guess what our instinctual reaction to pain is? Holding our breath. While we do this without thinking, it actually makes matters worse.
Although it feels unnatural in the moment, breathing deeply is what will start the healing process. This lowers muscle tension and makes the body more relaxed.
4. Flushes Out Toxins
One of the main functions of breathing is to detoxify the body. If you live in a city like me, you’re not only dealing with noise pollution, but also air pollution: car smoke and a long list of not-so-lovely things.
Carbon dioxide is released every time you exhale. Oxygen is what helps your body effectively absorb vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. So, the more oxygen you have in your system (from the deep breathing) the better your mind and body can function.
The Takeaway on Deep Breathing Benefits: Transform Your Overall Health and Wellbeing with Your Breath
The beauty of deep breathing is that you can do it anywhere. Feeling stressed sitting at your desk? Nervous before a date? Anxious about a never ending to-do list?
Close your eyes and take a few minutes to calm your mind. Yup, it actually is that easy.
This article originally appeared on YogiApproved.