The way you breathe has a huge impact on your stress levels.
Why you ask?
your breathing is deeply connected to your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems that regulates the release of hormones and neurotransmitters.
Your Heart Rate❤️ Is Connected To Your Stress Levels
According to the UC Davis Health Sports Medicine, these two systems control the rate at which your heart beats.
Your heart rate is connected to your stress levels:
- The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) releases the hormones (catecholamines – epinephrine and norepinephrine) to accelerate your heart rate.
- The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) releases the hormone acetylcholine to slow down your heart rate.
There are other hormones and neurotransmitters that are released including cortisol, testosterone, and adrenaline.
When you are stressed out, your breathing accelerates and becomes shallower.
Stress is your ‘fight or flight’ response system.
It turns on when your brain thinks that you are in danger and need to either fight👊🏾 or run.🏃🏾♀️
Your body does not know the difference between certain kinds of stress like work stress or financial stress.
Stress is stress to your brain.
When you are relaxed, your breath deepens and your heart rate lowers.
This correlation works both ways, slowing your breathing will make you less stressed and vice versa.
The key is to make sure that when you are relaxing, you are able to breathe in as deeply and fully as possible.
There are a few ways to do this…
Either through abdominal breathing or equal breathing.
Right now, you are probably breathing “wrong.”
Many of us do not pay close attention to the way we breathe and as a result, we are probably not getting the proper amount of oxygen into our lunges.
To find out if you are breathing incorrectly, place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach.
Now breath normally and notice which hand moves first and whether both move at all.
What you might find is that the chest moves first and the stomach moves ever-so-slightly afterward.
Unfortunately, this is the wrong way to breathe and it won’t allow you to bring in as much oxygen as possible.
Instead, you should allow your stomach to distend, which will, in turn, open up the abdominal cavity.
Then breathe in so that your lungs are filled and then move your chest.
This not only allows you to bring in more oxygen, but it also trains your transverse abdominals and encourages proper posture.
If you look at a baby👶🏾🍼 or an animal,🐶🐱 they breathe in deeply.
This is how they breathe naturally, so what went wrong for us?
It comes down to posture and the fact that you may spend a lot of time sitting in front of your laptop, TV, in a car, at a desk, etc.
And not just sitting normally in front of these things, but rather hunched over cutting off the flow of oxygen.
It sounds super uncomfortable huh?
Trying to remember to breathe properly or even have better posture is not easy to do which is why mindfulness is so valuable.
You can use it to practice better posture since you have to sit up straight, chest up shoulders back and down.
You most importantly use mindfulness meditation🧘🏾♀️ to improve your breathing.
During actual meditation, you will want to breathe as deeply and as efficiently as possible.
One way to do this is to use something called ‘equal breathing’ from yoga.
This kind of breathing involves counting the seconds for both the inhalation and exhalation making sure that they are equal.
Ideally, you are trying to breathe in and out for a good 3 seconds or more.
This will allow you to completely fill and empty your lungs refreshing all of your vital organs as well.
To Wrap Things Up…
Breathing correctly allows you to relieve stress and be able to take a step back to look at your current situation with a new perspective.
You also get to bring fresh life-giving oxygen to your vital organs so that they run better.
Use these breathing exercises at the start of your mindfulness meditation or at the start of your day and it can help you to become more relaxed and focused.
It will also help you to improve your breathing in the long term.
No more short shallow breathes!
To breathing correctly,
P.S. – If you enjoyed this post on how What Breathing Correctly Can Do For You, remember to like, share, and comment below.