A look at the profound effects of the breath on our state of mind.
We breathe involuntarily. It’s one of the many functions that our body performs naturally, without our conscious awareness. Have you ever stopped to notice your breathing patterns during a stressful event? Typically, the breath is shallow, quick, and focused on the chest. It may even be hyperventalatory, meaning that you’re not taking in enough oxygen. Likewise, if you stop and observe your breath while you’re relaxed, either in meditation or sitting near the ocean or chatting with loved ones, your breath is likely to be slow, steady, rhythmic, and deep. While the breath is something that happens naturally in the body, we can also control it. The beauty of being in tune with the breath is that we can actually change our states of mind when we change our breathing patterns. Here, we’ll discuss how breath impacts mental health and a few ways to use the breath in order to live a calmer, more relaxed life.
Breath and Mental Health
Breathing incorrectly can have a negative effect on the amount of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the bloodstream, creating negative physical and emotional effects. When we’re stressed, we enter “fight or flight” mode and the breath becomes shallow and sharp. This contributes to ongoing feelings of stress. Some of us are constantly in fight or flight mode. When we take deep inhales throughout diaphragms, we enter rest and digest mode, where our bodies can relax, heal, and reset.
Check-in with your breathing patterns several times a day. If you’re feeling stressed, start to take slow deep inhales and exhales, filling your lungs, belly, and diaphragm with air and releasing on the exhale. You can practice slow, deep breathing each morning and evening for heightened relaxation and lessened anxiety. Additionally, try incorporating yoga, tai chi, or other meditative exercises that encourage you to focus on the breath.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 844-857-5992 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you – it’s never too late to begin taking steps towards a happier, healthier life.