Topic: The Benefits of Breathing Techniques- Breathe in, Breathe out, Let go. 

Breathing. We need to breathe in order to live. If you have ever felt anxious or scared then you have probably experienced your breathing become more rapid. In those moments, how can we bring our breathing back to normal? Well, there are tons of breathing techniques you can use in times of  stress, anxiousness, sadness, etcetera. You just have to find the techniques that work best for you. 

Breathing is something we do regularly without usually realizing it. Did you know that humans breathe in and out about 22,000 times a day? We are powered by breathing and our brain and lungs work together to control and regulate our breathing. Our brain controls how fast our lungs draw in air.  

As you would expect, when someone is under stress their breathing pattern changes. Usually, someone who is anxious takes small, shallow breaths using their shoulders instead of their diaphragm to move air in and out. This type of breathing actually changes and disrupts the balance of gasses in the body. One of the main benefits of breathing techniques is that it creates a relaxation response and helps reduce stress. When we are relaxed, we breathe through our nose in a slow and gentle way. Having a relaxed breathing pattern calms the nervous system that controls the body’s involuntary functions. When we have a relaxed and controlled breathing pattern it can cause various physiological changes such as lowered blood pressure and heart rate, reduced levels of stress hormones in the blood, reduced lactic acid build up in muscle tissue, balanced levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood, improved immune system functioning, increased physical activity, and increased feelings of calm and wellbeing. 

We all have stress. How we manage stress is super important to our overall health. Chronic stress has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and anxiety. Deep breathing is a very good technique that many people use on a daily basis. Deep breathing has been said to be an effective intervention to help improve many chronic health conditions. A study done back in 2013 saw an estimated 60-80% of primary care doctor visits were related to stress, yet only 3% of patients received stress management help. Deep breathing is beneficial because it can signal your body to relax. When we are stressed our sympathetic nervous system is stimulated, which is associated with stress-related symptoms like irritability, anxiety, and faster breathing. When we engage in deep breathing we are engaging our diaphragm and breathing in with the intention of filling up the whole lung with air. In doing so, you are slowing down your heart rate and relaxing your muscles. Some benefits of deep breathing include improved quality of life in people with asthma and COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease- a common lung disease causing restricted airflow and breathing problems), helping manage symptoms of anxiety and depression, reducing tension to help with headaches, relieving some symptoms of IBS, and reducing the number and severity of hot flashes. 

Once again, breathing is more important than we realize and having breathing techniques to help us in our daily lives is also very important. Breathing correctly helps us live the best healthy lives we possibly can. We hope that these benefits of breathing techniques will encourage you to start doing your own breathing techniques on a regular basis and that they will help you on your pathway to joy. You can read more about breathing and breathing techniques at the websites listed below. 



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