You’re Probably Breathing Wrong. Here’s Why It Matters.
You know the benefits of taking a deep breath. It’s one of our primary ways of calming ourselves down and self-soothing.
It’s also one of the reasons why yoga and meditation are so powerful: connecting with your breath can help you to regulate your nervous system and give you the tools to breathe through anything.
But is breathing properly more than just a means by which we can calm ourselves?
Dr. Belisa Vranich, a renowned clinical psychologist, the author of the forthcoming Breathe: The Simple, Revolutionary 14-Day Program to Improve Your Mental and Physical Health, and the creator of The Breathing Class, thinks so.
7 Benefits of Taking a Full Belly Breath
The breath-expert addresses both physical and psychological problems related to better oxygenation by teaching people to breathe in an anatomically congruous way, which maximizes balanced inhales and exhales.
Here’s why it’s important…
Oxygen is body fuel at a cellular level.
It’s how you nourish your brain and muscles. Yes, you should eat leafy greens, organic and local, and take your vitamins . . . but the best way to take care of yourself is to deal with the most important thing first: your breathing. How you breathe is the cornerstone of your health.
Sure, mantras and massages are great, but go to the core.
Intercept and change the message from your body to your brain and rewire yourself. How? By deactivating dysfunctional breathing patterns, realigning your breath to work with your body, and by learning to activate your underutilized diaphragm and breath muscles, just as you would in physical therapy.
How you breathe impacts your emotional health.
Both depression and anxiety are worsened by shallow, erratic breathing. Optimism, creativity, problem solving and judgment are all affected by how well oxygenated you are and how you are breathing.
Breathing directly affects blood pressure.
Rethink your notion that medication is the only solution. When you breathe badly, the blood vessels constrict, which can lead to higher blood pressure, and which in turn makes the heart work harder. In effect, people with high blood pressure who learned how to breathe better will see an immediate drop in their blood pressure, without medication.
Proper breathing helps digestion.
Optimally, your breathing muscles stimulate peristalsis, the wavelike motion of the intestines that promotes digestion and elimination. Without this internal abdominal massage, you’re likely to find yourself coping with issues such as constipation, bloating, gas, heartburn, and irritable bowel syndrome. Get your diaphragm in gear and all your “plumbing” will work better, immediately.
Full breaths lead to better sleep.
Remind yourself to take full “lower body” breaths throughout the day. When night falls, you’ll find you sleep better. If you have been breathing in an unnatural way that tells your neurological system that you are in “fight and flight” mode all day, there’s no way you’re going to just switch into gentle deep sleep immediately.
Back problems? Try breathing!
Achy back and muscles? Whether it’s a cervical spine, lower back, or neck and shoulders issue, if you aren’t taking lower belly breaths, well, it’s directly affecting your spine health.