It is easy to take for granted something we do every second, every day. When stress is presented, many different methods to remain calm exist; one, in particular, is always available, breathing exercises.
This blog will detail the reasons breathing exercises are effective and list the different breathing exercises you can start to implement into your life.
How concentrated breathing affects the body
The biggest advantage of concentrated breathing is the effect that it can have on blood pressure, the nervous system, and mood.
Certain breathing techniques can help to quickly regulate your autonomic nervous system. Body temperature and sense of calmness can also be affected by certain types; specifically, box breathing which we will soon delve into.
Studies have been performed to try to capture the difference between those who utilize breathing exercises versus those that do not. A specific study we will summarize was one done by the NIH (National Institute of Health).
40 participants were selected and randomly assigned to a breathing intervention group (BIG) or a control group (CG). From there, BIG was trained for 20 sessions over the course of 8 weeks. They used a respiratory rate of 4 breaths per minute, which is how they received their feedback. The CG did not do any of this. The results for BIG “showed a significant decrease in negative affect after intervention, compared to baseline.” As well as “…significantly increased sustained attention after training, compared to baseline.”
Just from the results of one study, it is apparent that concentrated breathing truly results in majorly positive feedback.
Understanding the need for peace and relaxation is why our founder, Dr. Eric Ciliberti created the calming supplement, Relaxium Calm- A drug-free supplement that is purposed to promote relaxation, help elevate mood, and provide your body with vital nutrients.
Different breathing exercises
There are a few different options to pick from with breathing exercises. Some of these require certain positions such as lying on your back or sitting up. We would advise you to try out all and see which helps you best.
A number of breathing techniques include:
- Diaphragmatic breathing
- Box breathing
- Lions breathe
- Resonant breathing
- Breath focus
- Sitali breath
- Alternate nostril breathing
- Pursed lip breathing
We are going to focus on four different exercises; Diaphragmatic breathing, box breathing, breathe focus breathing, and pursed lip breathing.
Diaphragmatic breathing, which many refer to as belly breathing is where you are really focused on your diaphragm. This type of breathing is best suited for when you are in a relaxed mood.
Studies on Diaphragmatic breathing have shown this exercise to benefit those who have trouble breathing. Like most breathing exercises, Diaphragmatic breathing is very helpful for high blood pressure, migraines, and even eating disorders.
The way to perform Diaphragmatic breathing is as follows:
- Find an open space so you may lie on your back
- Bend your knees slightly and place your head on a pillow (and one under your knees if needed)
- Put one hand on your upper chest and another on your rib cage (this will help you to feel your own diaphragm)
- Inhale through your nose slowly and while doing this feel your stomach rise against your hand.
- Keep your other hand still.
- Exhale with pursed lips and keep your upper hand still.
Do this for 5 to 10 minutes.
The breathing exercise we hinted at before, is the type of breathing exercise that helps to regulate your automatic nervous system. Working towards both your blood pressure and body temperature, this type of exercise is truly effective and timely for stress.
When holding your breath, CO2 in your blood amplifies the cardio-inhibitory response. This is what helps you to feel calm and relaxed. If you use the box breathing technique, it may help you to easily drift to sleep; this is especially great for those who suffer from insomnia.
This is how you box breathe.
- Breathe out slowly, and allow air to release from your lungs.
- Breathe in through your nose and count to 4; focus on the air filling your stomach and lungs.
- Hold your breath for 4 seconds.
- Exhale for 4 seconds.
- Hold your breath for 4 seconds.
Continue this process for three to four rounds.
Breathe Focus Breathing
If you meditate this is something you may already do. This type of breathing exercise utilizes imagery, words, and phrases. Consider a word, phrase, or thing that brings you happiness or peace. For the sake of this example, we will use “Good things happen when I am calm.”
Beginners can practice this for 10 minutes, and after some time tries, increase it to 20. To practice breathe focus you must do the following:
- Sit or lie down somewhere you feel comfortable.
- Bring awareness to your breathing, but do not try to change the pattern.
- Switch between normal and deep breaths; take note of the movement of your abdomen.
- Practice for a few minutes.
- Place your hand below your belly button, and feel the way your belly rises and lowers.
- Allow yourself to feel by letting out sighs.
- Combine this breathing pattern with the repetition of the word, phrase, or image you chose.
- When you inhale, imagine the positive, calming word, phrase, or image you chose entering your body.
- When exhaling, imagine a negative word, phrase, or image leaving your body.
Pursed Lip Breathing
This kind of breathing exercise is so simple and easy to do most anywhere; especially at work and even when working out.
By focusing on your breathing with this technique, you are able to create a sense of calmness by putting effort into each breath.
To do this you must:
- Have both your neck and shoulders relaxed.
- Keep your mouth closed and slowly inhale through your nose for 2 seconds.
- Pucker or purse your lips, like you would if you were to whistle.
- Exhale slowly by blowing air through your lips for 4 seconds.
This one can be applied in almost any situation.
Take advantage of your natural reflex
We all breathe to stay alive. It is a reflex that can help us to refocus and relax when we need to. If you practice these breathing techniques they may be just what you need when you are feeling too overwhelmed. These exercises in combination with a calming supplement like Relaxium Calm will have you feeling much more relaxed and focused so you may perform the daily tasks needed.
To restful and healthy days ahead.
The Relaxium Team
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.