The breath is one of the most important parts of our physical existence. Not only is it an essential part of living, it is also something that you can learn to utilise in a number of different ways in order to bring about many great changes in your life. A lot of people have discovered just how useful it can be to breathe deeply and properly, and to have some kind of controlled breathing practice every day. In this article, we are going to discuss some of the benefits of controlled breathing, and what specific methods you might be able to use if you want to gain those benefits for yourself. You might find that this can make a surprisingly profound difference to your life in no time.
The most obvious thing that breathing does for you is to help you remain relaxed. If you are simply looking for some easy relaxation, then a good bout of deep breathing is going to be a good way to achieve that. In fact, if you make a point of having controlled breathing every day as a regular practice, you are going to find that you are much more relaxed all of the time, so that is something that you might want to think about. It is a known fact that controlling your breathing calms your brain, so you will find that the benefit here is immediate and obvious.
For that kind of relaxing breathing, you generally need to ensure that you are breathing as deeply as possible, ideally through the nose and out the mouth. You should aim to breathe directly into the diaphragm, not the lungs, as that is more effective for getting more air into the body in one breath. And it doesn’t hurt to count in order to ensure that you are doing it right. If you do this, you will immediately relax – but making a habit of it is where it can become really interesting, and where your whole life can suddenly seem so much more relaxing on the whole.
Regulating Blood Pressure
Perhaps part of the reason that controlled breathing can be so relaxing is that it also helps to regulate your blood pressure, which for most people will mean lowering the blood pressure from how it normally is in waking life. If you feel that you might need your blood pressure to be maintained a little more effectively, then simply deep breathing a lot of the time is going to help you to do that, no matter what kind of method you actually think about using. A lot of research has been carried out on this topic, and it seems as though deep breathing in a controlled manner which slows the breath can increase your baroreflex sensitivity, which is essentially the bodily mechanism that regulates blood pressure against heart rate.
If you do that regularly, that is going to be a great benefit for you in general, and will mean that you are helping to improve your heart health. That is something that you should always think about and consider important, as you don’t want your heart to suffer in any way in later life if at all possible.
For anyone out there who suffers with anxiety, learning how to control the breath is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. You don’t even need to learn any fancy techniques, as merely ensuring that you are controlling the breath in some way is going to help you to keep your anxiety more under control. This works in an acute sense, so that you can help to ward off a panic or anxiety attack in the moment using controlled breathing. And it is also something that will improve your anxiety over time as well, as long as you keep it up every day and make a point of practising it.
There are some breathing techniques and patterns which are particularly likely to be effective in helping to ward off anxiety. For instance, you could think about using the 4-7-8 method, in which you inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale for a count of eight seconds. This is known to be a very effective means of keeping your anxiety under control, so it is something that you might want to think about.
All in all, controlling your breathing also helps to show yourself that you have control in the first place, which is an important feeling to develop if you regularly feel as if you are losing control or that your body is not something you have a say over – a common feeling for those who suffer with anxiety.
While you can’t simply hope to get rid of asthma by breathing in certain ways, that doesn’t mean that controlled breathing can’t help you at all. In fact, many people find that breathing in a controlled manner can help them to get a better handle on their asthma and even alleviate the symptoms a lot of the time, so that is something that you should be aware of if you are an asthma sufferer. Some recent studies appear to be confirming this too, so if you have any asthma or allergic asthma symptoms you might want to think about this.
In particular, asthma can be aided by using deep, diaphragmatic breathing. You can practice this effectively by lying on your back with your knees bent under a pillow or just sitting straight in a chair. In either case, it is likely to help you feel better, during an asthma attack but also just more generally. Nasal breathing has also been shown to be effective for asthma, so it’s worth experimenting to see which might work out best for you. All in all, it’s just good to know that there is some kind of controlled breathing which can help you with your asthma, even if just to manage it a little more effectively.
If you often feel as though you are simply not alert enough, that is a feeling that many of us have in life, and it’s something that can have a negative ongoing effect in your life too. Let’s say that you are struggling to concentrate on your work: before you know it, that can mean that your quality of work slips, and that you have to start looking for a new job. These effects can be very real, so it is a good idea to try and be as alert as you can be at all times – and controlled breathing can help you with that greatly.
In particular, it is known that certain kinds of chanting breathwork are helpful in increasing alertness, so it might be good to look at those. While you might not want to start chanting at your work desk, you can do it in your own time and you will find that it improves your alertness generally throughout the day, so this is something to consider. A lot of people end up relying on this even more than their morning cup of coffee to help get through the day. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
Boosting The Immune System
There is just no end to the kinds of things that good breathing can do for you. Not only is it beneficial in all of these ways, but it is also known to help your body in warding off diseases and illnesses of all kinds too. You always want to make sure that you have a strong immune system, if possible, and one of the ways to do that is to control your breathing regularly throughout the day. Studies have shown that this helps the immune system to do what it does even more effectively, so you could be helping to fight all sorts of problems with your health by the simple act of breathing consciously and purposefully, even if you just do so once a day. Really, what have you got to lose, when this is one of the most common benefits you can experience from doing so?
Improving Your Core
If you are thinking about doing a lot of muscle building, you will find that you need to try and breathe properly as you do so. Good breathing has a way of improving your core muscles, so that you can help to build your muscles as you exercise without getting too tired out. Even if you just want to feel strong in yourself, you will be amazed at how much you can achieve that simply by working on your core, and how much easier that is with a bit of good breathing, especially deep diaphragmatic breathing. Bear this in mind if you are considering starting up a new exercise regime, especially a muscle-building one.
As you can see, there is so much that controlled breathing can do for you. If you want all of these improvements in your life, make a date with your own breath and start paying more attention to it today.