Most people use less than 25% of their lung capacity. They breathe very shallowly, mostly in the upper chest.
It's especially true if you have a sedentary job.
Yet, deep breathing, breathing further into your lungs, and really expanding your chest with every breath bring tremendous health benefits.
Below are some of these health benefits, and at the end, we'll show you how to incorporate deep breathing into your everyday life to get these benefits and feel better.
Benefits of Deep Breathing
If you're not getting enough air into your lungs, you're not getting enough oxygen-carbon dioxide transfer. And that means your blood oxygen level will start to fall. Even a slight dip can cause your brain to want to go to sleep.
Reduces Your Stress
The way you breathe can influence your stress levels and anxiety. When we feel stressed, our body produces cortisol. Part of cortisol's job is to increase your breathing rate and make you breathe shallower and higher in your chest.
If you're normally breathing higher in your chest, it enhances the way cortisol makes your system stressed. That leaves you more anxious and worried, even if there's nothing to be stressed or anxious about.
Purposefully moving your breath deeper signals your brain that everything is safe. Your body then starts to reduce cortisol levels and you feel better.
Reduce Your Depression
Deep breathing is not a cure for depression, but it can help manage your stress and anxiety and help rebalance your body.
That stress hormone cortisol can depress serotonin and dopamine levels in your brain. Deep breathing helps reduce cortisol and increases serotonin and dopamine. Purposefully deep breathing helps remove the cause of your stress, giving you a few moments to react in helpful, constructive methods.
Better Manage Your Chronic Pain
The way deep breathing helps pain is complex. The first part is managing the stress and anxiety that come with pain and increasing your feel-good hormones. Deep breathing helps release endorphins that reduce your pain. It also helps fill your body with oxygen that can help the healing process.
Lower Your Heart Rate
With lower stress and anxiety, your heart rate goes down, further helping to reduce your stress.
Lower Your Blood Pressure
When your heart rate goes down, the cortisol goes down, and so does your blood pressure.
There's lots of other reasons for deep breathing and how it can help your body. It links to helping IBS, burnout, exercise, reducing injuries, PTSD, and much more. It all comes down to choosing to prioritize your self-care and take a few minutes out of your day.
How To Start Deep Breathing On A Regular Basis
You don't have to sit in meditation to learn how to breathe deep.
It does help if you're sitting down, however.
The first thing you need to do is open your chest.
Most people who watch TV or use a computer often or work sedentary jobs tend to slouch and roll their shoulders forward. That constricts the diaphragm, which is the muscle that helps you breathe. It also reduces the amount of space your lungs have to expand. So, the first thing to do is to sit up straighter and roll your shoulders back.
You'll immediately start feeling you can take bigger breaths of air.
And that's as simple as it is to start.
The hard part is keeping it up. You'll have to remind yourself continuously to sit up and roll your shoulders back to continue to take deeper breaths. But, the results are worth it.
Why Meditation Teaches You To Breath Deep And Take A Breather
Meditation is usually the tool used to teach people how to deep breathe. It starts with helping people to sit up straighter and create the focus on their breath.
Through the practice of regular meditation, you can change your habitual patterns to take deeper breaths and feel calmer. You can gain the benefits with practice and the right type of work.
Meditation is not necessary, nor is there a specific type of meditation that works better than others. You can even use religious prayer as a focus, as long as you let your chest open up and breathe deep. Give deep breathing a try and see how you feel. Just a few deep breaths start bringing you the benefits.