“Sometimes you just have to stop, take a deep breath and put things into perspective.” – Katrine Mayer
Many people these days are shallow breathers, and it may be because our lives are busier than ever. However, I want to support the cause of deep breathing. Most the time our breathing is subconscious, shallow breathing, but we can consciously use breathing to our benefit. There are benefits of deep breathing that can counteract the effects of shallow breathing.
Demonstrations have shown that shallow breathing produces anoxemia, occurring when there is periodic breathing, cyanosis, and other symptoms of this condition. (1) Any of those can lead to panic attacks or anxiety. The shallow breathing pattern also creates tension in other parts of your body, which can lead to other problems. This shift in breathing is a reaction to environmental stressors like temperature, pollution, and noise. (2)
When you are breathing shallowly, the body remains in a cyclical state of stress – your stress causing shallow breathing and your shallow breathing causing stress. This event sets off the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), aka the “fight or flight” response. This happening for the long term can have severe effects on your health. The chronic stress in your body results in lower lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that helps to defend your body from invading organisms. It makes sense that if we have a lower amount of white blood cells that we would not be able to fight off as many invading organisms. (2)
Diaphragmatic breathing (belly breathing) is an excellent way to breath as it relies on your diaphragm, your primary breathing muscle so that your upper respiratory (3, 4 ). It is the basis for almost all meditation or relaxation techniques, which can lower your stress levels (cortisol levels in your blood), reduce blood pressure (BP), and regulate other vital bodily processes. Some other benefits that deep breathing help manage are: depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, and core muscle stability (5,6)
Deep breathing is not typically what you think of when you hear about healthy lifestyle changes. Deep breathing has more benefits that are worth your precious time that can help lead to a healthier, happier lifestyle.
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This blog post is provided for educational and informational purposes only and is not medical, mental health or healthcare advice. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose, treat, heal, cure or prevent any illness, medical condition or mental or emotional condition.