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Deep Breathing: Physical and Mental Health Benefits

A pandemic, followed by several lockdowns and devastating news pieces worldwide, has posed several challenges in the past few years. Whenever we think of the effects of Covid-19 fading, it attacks us with a new variant.

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But one good thing the entire fiasco has done is – giving us more ‘ME’ time. It means spending more time with yourself, alone.

This allows you to analyze your feelings, emotions, and state of mind. It takes you a step closer to the process of knowing yourself.

The past decade has brought a wave of stress, depression, various mental health issues, and technological development. While busy engineering the best machines, we forgot about our inner engineering.

Also Read: Feeling Mentally Isolated? Here’s How To Come Out Strong

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The most common stress sources among adults are work, health, and money. Employment status, age, ethnicity, race, and income are the factors that also influence a person’s stress level.

A survey conducted in 2017 showed that 13% of adults had problems unwinding in the evening or on weekends. The leading source among employees was workload. Mental health in the U.S. has deteriorated drastically over the past years.

Working is essential but maintaining a balance is a smart move. When you do not cut some time for your inner healing, you will constantly find yourself in ignorance.

Let me give you an example– do you remember when you went to the kitchen and suddenly forgot the purpose of your visit? And, when you took your phone, scrolled through Instagram for some time, and then kept it aside?

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But then you recalled the reason why you held the device in the first place. You keep going back to square one again and again. These incidents must have happened to you. It is because you lack ‘focus.’ When you spend time with yourself, your focus levels increase.

Deep Breathing- An Effective Stress Reliever

Stress can lead to fatal problems in the long run. We might think we are not in hot water, but as time passes, stress shows its power through physical health issues like cancer.

Therefore, you have to think about a solution to your stressful life. Of course, it’s inevitable, and it will hang out with you every day. A no-stress life is blue-sky thinking.

It’s a long shot, but it can be reduced at least. You don’t have to crunch the numbers or go to a laboratory to find a solution for your stress.

All you need to do is start with basic stress relief exercises. The standard relief practices for the people who like cutting corners are –

  • Slacking off
  • Watching Television
  • Binge eating junk
  • Traveling

Well, these might be fine for instantaneous relief, but some of them aren’t healthy, and they are temporary.

The most effective stress relief practice is ‘deep breathing.’ It is the lucky straw that saves you from drowning in the deep ocean of mental and physical health problems.

Let me get you to speed about the importance and benefits of deep breathing and cut to the chase.

Importance of Deep Breathing

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Have you ever pondered over the need to breathe at all? Obviously, this might seem like a silly question for even a kid knows breathing is essential to live.

But here’s a perspective. Your body requires oxygen to survive, and the air consists of approximately 21% oxygen.

Oxygen is necessary for your cells to make energy and keep your body working. Every cell, every tissue, every organ of the human body needs oxygen.

When there’s an adequate supply of oxygen in the body, you will find yourself energetic and enthusiastic. The focus levels of the brain increase; it detoxifies your blood, increases memory capacity, and offers many more mental and physical health benefits.

So, the more deeply you breathe, the more oxygen your body gets.

Physical Health Benefits of Deep Breathing

Your body needs oxygen as much it needs food to keep working. Deep breathing has immense physical benefits for your body.

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If you see through biological lenses, you’d know that without oxygen, the food you intake will not get absorbed by the body. I’m not telling you the jargon part of the breathing process but a helicopter view of how breathing works.

Muscle Relaxation

Just try doing deep breathing exercises for a few minutes, and you will notice a change of pace in your body. You will start to feel relaxed within a FEW minutes; I’m not even kidding. Let me show your eyes the big picture— the state of mind and the body are directly proportional to each other. When the mind is relaxed, the body is comfortable, and vice versa. When the mind is tense, your body will also be affected. Deep breathing helps relax your muscles.

Better Blood Circulation

Wait, how is breathing related to blood circulation? I’m not buying that, please. That’s your inner voice after reading the heading.

But, hey, do you know why your heartbeat increases while you’re feeling scared? It is due to Mr. Adrenaline (hormone). It is one of the chemicals your body releases to respond to stress triggers.

It might seem harmless, but it becomes unhealthy for the long haul. More prolonged stress leads to blood pressure which develops due to the constriction of the blood vessels.

It further results in improper blood circulation in the body and various health issues. Deep breathing helps in reducing the contraction of the vessels, ensuring smooth circulation, a healthy body, and reduced blood pressure.

Little Weight Loss

During stress, the body emits a hormone called ‘cortisol.’ In small amounts, it’s harmless. Cortisol is responsible for storing fat in the body, leading to weight gain.

In the long run, if there’s more stress, there would be more cortisol and hence, more weight. Deep breathing leads to stress relief, which ensures a mild weight loss.

Mental Health Benefits of Deep Breathing

Better Focus

When you’re taking deep breaths, more oxygen reaches the brain. This leads to improvement in focus. The next time you feel like losing your cool or you’re overwhelmed with something, take a few deep breaths, and your mind will become calm.

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Reduced Anxiety

Worrying mostly without any logical reason is what anxiety is. Almost everyone feels anxiety in life at least once. Deep breathing exercises help in reducing anxiety and calm you as a person.

Also Read: Solutions to Mental Hurdles That Stop Us From Working Out

Less stress

Of course, it reduces stress. More oxygen supply in the body leads to the release of the constricted vessel, tensed muscles, and many more. This reduces stress and provides relaxation.

I hope you now have more clarity about how deep breathing is essential in your daily life. However, occasional deep breaths will not show you considerable results. You have to include it in your everyday chores. You have to raise the bar if you wish to have a healthy body and mind. From physical to mental health benefits, deep breathing will tremendously improve your life and health.

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