Breathing is one of the primary reasons we can live life rather than slumping dead by a ditch at the corner of the road. When a child is born, the doctors first check if that child is breathing properly, ensuring there is life.
Breathing has been commonly overlooked as a general part of life. But there is so much more to understanding the importance, power, and value of breathing. If we can connect with it, breathing can improve our lives. It can purify the body, enhance digestion, supply energy to the body, and encourage tranquillity and relaxation, all of which can be beneficial to mental health. Hence, the encouragement of breathing exercises.
A 2018 study by the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience concluded that breathing and focus have a neurological link and that regular breathing exercises have a massive impact on noradrenalin, a primary chemical messenger released when we focus or face difficult or emotional situations.
The question now is, what exactly are these breathing exercises? How do we do them, and how can they help us stay calm, relaxed, and grounded?
We have got everything figured out for you. Here are breathing exercises to keep you grounded;
Belly breathing also known as diaphragmatic breathing aids in correcting shallow breathing, which occurs primarily in the upper quadrant of your lungs. Belly breathing teaches you to use your diaphragm and total lung capacity. This technique will enable you to centre yourself as you focus on your breath. You can do it at any time to relieve stress. It works best when you are too emotional or irritated since it soothes your mind and lets you calm down quickly.
Steps for belly breathing exercise
- Begin by lying down or sitting in a comfortable, upright position.
- Close your eyes and exhale through your nose.
- Position one hand on your lower abdomen and the other on your chest.
- Practice inhaling into your hand on your belly first.
- As your belly increases, so will your ribs and chest. Draw out the air from your belly on your exhale and repeat. Continue for a total of 15 minutes.
The supply of oxygen and nutrients to the body cells will enhance by belly breathing. Similarly, there will be an increase in blood supply to bones and muscles. This finally decreases your heart rate and stabilises your blood pressure, allowing you to calm your thoughts.
The 4-7-8 breathing
Another popular and regularly used breathing exercise for achieving calmness is the 4-7-8 Breathing exercise. It has several advantages, and its technique includes belly breathing as well.
Steps for the 4-7-8 breathing exercise
- Lie or sit on a flat and comfortable surface.
- Put one hand on your abdomen, right below the rib cage, and the other on your chest, like we do with belly breathing.
- Begin by taking a slow, deep inhale from your nose to your abdomen and counting to four while breathing in.
- Hold your hand in the air and count silently from 1 to 7 as soon as your hand on your tummy rises.
- Begin breathing out and exhaling through your mouth, making a whoosh sound. Count from 1 to 8 as you expel the air.
- Repeat this technique 5–7 times or as many times as you need until you feel peaceful.
This breathing technique not only cultivates mental peace but also aids in improved sleep, reducing food cravings, and controlling your emotions, particularly responses such as anger. There is a potential that you will feel lightheaded or dizzy at first, so proceed with caution and perform this exercise only in a sitting or reclining position.
Morning is said to be the most excellent time to work out. Breathing exercises performed soon after waking up in the fresh morning air can help eradicate any stress and worry and provide a relaxed and calm start to the day ahead.
Steps for morning breathing exercise
- Begin by standing straight and leaning down from the waist, keeping your knees slightly bent.
- While leaning down, let your arms dangle near the floor.
- Slowly bring yourself to a standing position, inhaling the entire time deeply. Only lift your head after your complete body is straight.
- Now, while standing, hold your breath for a few seconds.
- Repeat the bending procedure, but this time exhale slowly as you bend.
- Continue to repeat the steps for 10 to 15 minutes.
Doing this daily practice will help you cope with stress, concerns, tension, and anxiety much better. It is also good at lowering your heart rate and stabilising your blood pressure.
The roll breathing
Roll breathing is a technique that focuses only on entirely using the lungs to build a rhythm in breathing patterns and achieve the most outstanding results possible. You can perform roll breathing in any posture. However, we recommend that you attempt it lying down at first. Once you are comfortable, you can move on to another position.
Steps for the roll breathing exercise
- Bend your knees and lie on your back on a level surface.
- Put your left hand on your belly and your right arm on your chest simultaneously.
- Inhale air into your abdomen rather than your chest by breathing through your nose.
- Your left arm will rise as a result, while your right arm will remain stationary. Now exhale via your mouth. Continue by repeating this step 8 to 10 times.
- You must now proceed to the second phase of this breathing technique. You will need to inhale into your upper chest for this. When you do this, your left hand will drop, while your right hand on your chest will begin to rise. Continue breathing slowly.
- Make a whoosh sound as you exhale from your mouth. As you exhale, you should be able to feel uneasiness and tension leave your body.
- Do this for 5-10 minutes every day. Once you are used to it, you can do it in any position.
- You should notice that as you breathe in and out, your belly moves in a rolling wave manner, which indicates that you are doing things right.
This exercise approach aids in managing fatigue, chronic pain, depression, and heart rate.
Breathing exercises are a fundamental and well-known method of connecting with your thoughts. Aside from being necessary for survival, breathing provides many other benefits that most of us are unaware of. It has a deep connection with your mind; once you find this connection, the possibilities for manipulating your thoughts and emotions are limitless.
By following the actions and exercises outlined above, you can significantly improve your mental health.
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