Practice breathing techniques and exercises to drive stress away with these tips!
In this article:
- How Modern Technology Causes Stress
- What Are the Benefits of Deep Breathing?
- Why Is Proper Breathing So Important?
- Which Deep Breathing Technique Best Fits Your Stress-Relieving Needs?
- Just Slow Down
Deep Breathing Practices Combat Stress in More Ways Than One
How Modern Technology Causes Stress
Technology is advancing at a rapid pace. While this has lead to many magnificent modern conveniences, stress has run wild as a result of a detachment from our more primal nature.
According to the Pew Research Center, 77% of Americans own a smartphone in early 2018. Between the ages of 18-29, 28% heavily rely on their smartphones to connect to the Internet, while 24% of those between the ages of 30-49 do not use any other Internet-connected device other than their smartphones.
Simply put, the more people checked and spent time on their gadgets, the more stressed out they felt. So, what do we do about the multiple modern stressors?
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Here’s one of the most simple and cost-effective solutions: just breathe.
What Are the Benefits of Deep Breathing?
The ancients were on to something.
There are many deep breathing exercises available that date back to the ancients. Now, science is finally catching up with the medicinal benefits and the major neurochemistry upgrade that can be achieved through popular practices such as Kundalini yoga.
What Is Kundalini Yoga? Influenced by Shaktism and Tantra, Kundalini Yoga focuses on dynamic breathing, meditation, and chanting of mantras to build physical vitality and improve consciousness.
One ancient yogic breathing technique, in particular, the Ujjayi breath, has long been noted for its:
- Detoxification of the mind and body
- Relief of tension
- Build up of energy
- An increase in the amount of oxygen in the blood vessels
Why Is Proper Breathing So Important?
Breathing properly can be a huge way to update your overall health. In fact, breathing is the bridge between the mind and body and the connection between consciousness and unconsciousness.
What makes this human function even more powerful is that taking a breath is the only one we perform both consciously and unconsciously. It’s controlled by two sets of nerves – one belonging to the voluntary nervous system and the other to the autonomic system.
Simply, breathing deeper helps lower your blood pressure, calm your heart rate, and aid in your digestion, too. Even more, diaphragmatic breathing has a deep and direct connection to our emotional state and mood.
Notice yourself when you feel angry or upset. How is your breathing? Typically, you will observe shortness of breath and shallow breathing as a result of this mood shift.
We can actually alter our mood by changing the way we breathe. Your breathing rate and pattern can affect your mood. In fact, you cannot be upset if your breathing is slow, deep, and consistent.
Which Deep Breathing Technique Best Fits Your Stress-Relieving Needs?
One of the coolest things about being more mindful about breathing is there are so many practices to choose from. Here are a few ideas to help discipline your breathing (and perhaps curate a new interest:)
This is a rather broad topic, but there are many facets that could become a new habit to help you practice breathing more deeply and fluidly. This includes practicing yoga.
Kundalini yoga, for example, implements actions such as the breath of fire – a cleansing and energizing breath, powered by your abdominal contractions.
How do you do this breathing exercise?
- Start with long, deep breathing and as soon as the lungs are expanded.
- Immediately force the air out, arching the spine forward and pressing the palms inward against the knees.
If that breathing exercise sounds a bit too intense, just a classic yoga session will help to loosen the body and steady the breath.
Meditation does not have to mean sitting on a cushion, with your eyes closed for hours. Technology can be on our side in this case, and there are even apps to help guide you through simple meditations.
Even if you just pause for a few minutes to observe the way you breathe, you will feel a tremendous difference.
This type of deep breathing found in many meditation practices has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, relax muscles, decrease stress, increase energy levels, and improve your body’s relaxation response, too. When you breathe deeply and slowly like this, you activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which ultimately reverses the stress response in the body.
Just Slow Down
There are many incredible outlets to help restore our energy and instill better breathing habits. Whether it’s the Kundalini fire breath or simply sitting down to meditate each day, the opportunity to reset our way of living and the power to upgrade our habits rests in our hands.
Keeping things simple is key and the fact remains that there are no ordinary moments like when you allow an act as simple as letting oxygen fill your lungs can take the stress away.
Learn the Art of Stopping Time by acknowledging the way it feels to have the sun shining on your face as you walk to your car or the warmth of your coffee mug in your palms as you sip slowly. The micro-decisions we make daily can accumulate into something greater – the joy of living.
Take your time, breathe in the beauty of nature, and find something to be grateful for every day. You’ll breathe better in no time.
What breathing exercises have you tried? Were you able to experience deep breathing benefits? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 12, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.