Today we are going to have a little chat about the benefits of Belly Breathing and why you should be doing it.
If you are anything like me, you might be restless, anxious and have been for longer than you can remember, or you might just be going through a stressful period and need to find some good habits in order to find your chill again.
Whatever may be the cause of your curiosity, here you are! and hopefully you'll read this and get some great information that can help you a little day by day!
So, let's take a semi-deep dive into Belly Breathing.
You might be thinking, really? breathing.. that's what you've got for me, girl! But hold up!
I'm no talking about taking a couple of deep breaths every day and off you go. Although, that too has its benefits! I'm not here to judge your process.
Belly Breathing is a technique where you breath deep from the diaphragm rather than your chest. Chest breathing is what most of us do all day, everyday.
My psychologist, bless her golden, angel heart, taught me this technique and explained the differences to me and sent me off to do my own homework. What I found was super interesting, belly breathing has several benefits, and one of those benefits is easing an anxious mind and body.
I am ultra, super anxious, my brain simply doesn’t get any down time and it’s always racing. So sometimes, the tiniest things can just set it off like the ticking time bomb that it is and this is one of the many techniques I've tried over the last... 11 years? that has actually worked.
So, let’s look into Chest and Belly breathing
CHEST BREATHING (anxious breathing)
Anxious breathing is when you breath from your chest, this form of breathing makes it easier for your fight or flight response to be triggered which can then lead to a panic attack or an anxiety attack.
When already anxious and your FOFR kicks in, it alerts your body *SOUND THE ALARMS* to fasten your heart beat, and shorten your breath.
By consciously focusing on the length and depth of each breath AND where that breath comes from, you can potentially stop anxiety/panic attacks in its tracks and have it running the other way.
BELLY BREATHING (calm breathing)
Like I said above; when you breath using your diaphragm the likelihood of spiraling into an attack is significantly lowered. There are also several other benefits of Calm Breathing:
- Improves Digestion - Breathing deep simply provides more oxygen to the body and all it's parts (this includes the digestive system) which makes all parts of the body work more efficiently. Belly Breathing also improves blood flow which encourages your guts to work harder and in doing so improves overall digestion.
- It’s a natural painkiller - When practicing deep breathing your body releases endorphins (feel good hormones) which are a natural pain killer that the body creates.
- Increased energy levels - When you breath deeply, you get more oxygen (duh, sorry, i know! obvious.) But due to that increased volume of oxygen in your blood, that then results in increased energy levels. Science, am i right?!
Improves posture - If ya don't believe it, just try it. Take a deep breath in, your stomach rising, and watch how your spine automatically straightens. Believe it or not, Short and shallow breathing plays a pretty decent sized role when it comes to bad posture.
I'm sure there are more benefits! but let's move along to HOW we do the breathing thing.
HOW TO DO IT
I suggest doing this first thing in the morning and pair it with some mantras/ intention setting afterwards. Otherwise, you can really do it whenever you want.
Find a quiet space
When first practicing deep belly breathing or Calm breathing, it’s important to first practice when in a quiet space so you can begin to confidently practice anywhere, anytime when faced with distractions.
Remove any glasses or uncomfortable objects – Lay on the floor, or recline in a chair. You can do this on your bed but it is best to form new habits in new/different spaces
Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest
When you practice the below, imagine your belly button touching the back of your spine as you breath out slowly, this encourages deeper breaths by indirectly stimulating the vagus nerve. When the vagus nerve is stimulated it lowers the heart rate.
- Inhale deeply, taking a large breath in from your abdomen as you count to three (in your head). I sometimes like to use the following slowly instead of counting to 3 “Rising, Rising, Rising” in order to remind myself that my stomach should be RISING with your hand on top and the hand on your chest should not move at all.
- After taking a very short pause, slowly exhale whilst counting to 3 (again, in your head) you can again repeat the following slowly; “falling, falling, falling” to remind yourself that the hand on your stomach should be falling along with your stomach and that yet again, the hand on your chest should not move.
- Repeat this rhythmic pattern for anywhere between 5-10 minutes or until you feel relaxed.
Let me know what you think, I loved this technique, and although it is soooo simple, it's not something we do everyday. It requires zero dollars, very little time and very little effort.
Mucho Luvo and Mucho Breatho,