With so much to distract us in this fast-paced, modern world, it’s no wonder that we often feel run down after a long day at work or juggling household responsibilities. We jump from one task to another, barely taking a second to take stock of what is happening around us.
Taking a breather is another way of describing a break, when we actually pause to appreciate our situation and concentrate on taking a few nice deep breaths. Once we do this, it’s remarkable how we often feel just that little bit more refreshed, and able to think a little clearer.
At Uira, we’re all about a holistic approach to balancing your health with our range of BioenergEthic products that are both vegan friendly and easy on the planet. Here’s a look at how breathing exercises can help support your mental and emotional wellbeing.
Dealing with stress
While it’s natural to experience stress every once in a while, when it becomes a regular feature of our lives it can be a cause for concern that needs to be addressed. According to the Australian Psychological Society, over a quarter of people reported experiencing moderate to severe levels of stress in 2014 alone.
Younger Australians in the 18-35 age bracket were said to be the subject of acute stress levels throughout the year, with more women reporting feeling stressed than did their male counterparts.
Fortunately, there are an array of different methods to combat and manage stress, one of which is breathing exercises. Deep breathing involves letting the breath travel down into your abdomen, filling up your lower lungs before being released.
However, as noted by Harvard University, this sort of full breathing may seem foreign to many of us, but it is vital to encouraging better oxygen flow. This is because when we shallow breathe, the bottom part of our lungs gets neglected, which can result in feeling short of breath, or even anxious.
In addition, deep, slow breathing is also believed to aid in slowing our heartbeat and working to manage blood pressure, according to Harvard.
Being aware of your breathing is an essential part of relaxation, playing a role in meditation and yoga practices. Mayo Clinic describes relaxation as a way of minimising the effects of stress on the body and mind, as well as a method of dealing with pain.
“Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body” states Web MD. “This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax.”
Breathing exercises, especially when accompanied with mindfulness and other relaxation techniques, can help to work around our body’s natural stress responses which stem from our deeply ingrained ‘fight or flight’ instinct.
“Once you know what the stress response feels like, you can make a conscious effort to practice a relaxation technique the moment you start to feel stress symptoms,” advises Mayo Clinic.
Taking things slow
You can practice deep breathing anywhere, but to get an idea of how it feels, find a nice quiet place to sit down and close your eyes to reduce the chance of being distracted. Take, slow, deep breaths through your nose, letting the oxygen fill your lungs. You should feel your stomach expand with your inhale before you exhale through your mouth or nose.
Once you’re comfortable with this, try to combine your breathing with visualising a relaxing environment such as a beach or a park, or meditate on a calming word or phrase. Like many health endeavours, mastering deep breathing can take practice, so be patient while you’re getting the hang of it.
For more information on our range of vegan supplements, as well as how you can get involved, get in touch with us today.