Breathing is one of the fundamental ingredients for our existence. Due to the automatic and perpetual nature of breathing, it never occurs to most people whether or not they could be breathing better, or what the consequences are for poor or less than pristine breathing.
Breathing correctly, which involves breathing deeply, can lead to innumerable benefits, such as less anxiety, better handling of stress, improved posture, an enhanced immune system, feeling more alive and present to the moment, a healthier heart, enjoyment of life, and more.
Breathing Into Your Belly
Many people, perhaps for body image or stress-related reasons, have fallen into the bad habit of holding in their stomach when they breathe. This holding in leads to shallow “chest breathing,” which limits the diaphragm’s range of motion, and can lead to shortness of breath and anxiety.
Deep abdominal breathing enables the full absorption of oxygen in the lungs, which can slow one’s heartbeat and lower blood pressure. The routine practice of deep, belly breathing can be a tremendously powerful strategy for enhancing your health, vitality, productivity, and happiness. The first step is looking into and learning about different deep breathing techniques.
Reaping the Rewards
Breathing deeply comes with its advantages, including being a natural painkiller, reducing inflammation in the body, improved detoxification and waste removal from the bloodstream, and an enhanced immune system.
You may also experienced an increase in energy from improved blood flow and higher levels of oxygen in the bloodstream. Proper breathing pushes your body towards good posture; as your lungs fill up and expand, your spine is encouraged to straighten up. Practicing breathing exercises can elevate your awareness in the morning, or calm and relax you down sufficiently for a night’s sleep.
Deep breathing and forms of breathing exercise are also forms of meditation, and putting them into practice can result in feeling more grounded in life and reality.
There is no magic pill. Everything of true value and fulfillment comes gradually over time with consistent, disciplined practice. All that is needed is a few minutes, a couple times per day. This is easier said than done, not because breathing is hard, but because remaining disciplined is a real challenge. If you manage to implement these practices into your daily routines, you will find increased focus, awareness, and appreciation for life.