an MMM… cartoon: The 5 mental health benefits of heavy breathing
24 Jun 2012
“How can I not be doing it right? I’m breathing!”
Does this sound familiar? It was the conversation I used to have with myself every time I thought about undertaking breathing exercises. I had heard so many versions of how to breathe that I was confused into not doing it at all.
It wasn’t until I learned about the mental health benefits that I dedicated myself to heavy breathing… well most gurus call it breathing deeply (where’s the fun in that?)
- Breathing deeply causes the nervous system to calm down. I think that’s why we’re always instructed to breathe when we’re having an anxiety attack (though I never quite mastered that one!) Breathing deeply for 10 minutes can have a calming effect on the nervous system for up to 48 hours!
- Breathing deeply elevates your mood. Scientifically it increases the production of pleasure-inducing neurochemicals… enough with the scientific babble… just try it and see how much lighter you feel.
- Breathing deeply helps you to clear the unease you experience with certain emotions. I find that if I breathe into where the emotion is showing up in my body, it moves on quickly. Take that overwhelming emotion!
- Breathing deeply causes your brain to receive more oxygen. Your brain needs oxygen to function optimally, therefore breathing deeply = high performance brain. Now who among us doesn’t need a high performance brain to counteract the side effects of the meds?
- Focusing on your breath as you breathe deeply connects you with your body (i.e. gets you out of your head). It promotes clarity and a feeling of being grounded. Now show me a person who doesn’t want to feel grounded every once in a while.
Breathing properly (don’t let it stop you from breathing!)
How did I learn to breathe properly? I just started to breathe deeper for a set period of time. Then when I felt comfortable, I inhaled through my nose and exhaled through my mouth, trying to do so at the same rate. I focused on breathing as deeply as I could.
The real trick is making the time.
Commit. Schedule. Execute. Daily. Feel the benefits.
What do you think?
I’d love to hear from you on this.
Have you implemented breathing exercises into your routine? How’s that working out for you? And if you haven’t, what’s holding you back?
Please share your experience in the comments below so we can all learn from you.
This is the 3rd post in the 4-part Monthly Mental Musings (MMM…) cartoon series.