“Deep breaths are like little love notes to your body.”
I have touched on the importance of breathing in my article Inhale. Exhale, however, I believe that breathing, as a relaxation technique, is effective and beneficial enough that I have decided to write another article on it. This article, however, demonstrates how the breath can help rebalance your nervous system, and thus improve your body and mind.
Even though we may not be facing life-threatening situations, our nervous system may still interpret our daily stressors as such, and keep us in a perpetual state of fear, stress and anxiety. This response may in turn affect our nervous system by negatively influencing our cortisol levels, adrenal glands and hormonal balance. Consequently, our emotional, physical and mental health, as well as our longevity, may all be impacted.
To help ward off these negative symptoms of prolonged stress and anxiety, routinely breathing in a deep, slow and steady way should be incorporated in your daily routine. From a yogic-science point of view, breathing (also known as pranayama) is where you manipulate the breath by observing, expanding and retaining it. Breathing in this way promotes oxygenation of the blood, improves circulation and improves memory and retention. It also signals our parasympathetic nervous system to slow down our heartbeat and shallow breathing. So whether it’s in the morning before getting out of bed, in the middle of a chaotic day, or right before bed to help you unwind, finding the time to intentionally breathe is crucial to your mental, physical and emotional health.
By practicing the technique of deep breathing, you can include mindfulness meditation by observing the breath, therefore, fixating the wandering mind on one point of concentration. By doing so, you are actively decreasing your heart rate, which may be accelerated due to anxious and stress-provoking thoughts.
There are countess guided breathing videos and apps available to help you implement breathing as an effective way of rebalancing your nervous system. In researching breathing videos, you may notice a variety of different techniques available. My advice is to try a few different techniques in hopes of finding one that works best for you. My personal favourite, as mentioned in a previous article, is the app called CALM. This app has a guided meditation feature along with a guided breathing option.