Breathing deeply is a great way to slow down your thoughts and soothe your mind. Here are two simple tricks you can do anywhere.
Taking time out for yourself doesn’t need to be a dramatic event or even a noticeable pause. Pranayama the practice of controlling breath has been practiced for centuries in yoga traditions. But scientists have recently looked into how deep breathing helps to improve overall health.
By studying clusters of neurons in mice, researchers confirmed that breathing impacts brain function in a big way. And a recent study cited by the U.S. National Library of Medicine found that university students who practiced deep breathing enjoyed elevated mood and improved stress levels.
Just as aerobic exercise improves our heart functions and strengthens muscles, breathing exercises can make our lungs work more efficiently. The American Lung Association suggests the following two exercises recommended by pulmonary rehabilitation specialists, especially for individuals with chronic lung conditions such as asthma or COPD. But everyone can benefit from these simple relaxation techniques.
Sit in a chair and relax your neck and shoulder muscles. Breathe in fully through your nose, while keeping your mouth closed. Pucker or purse your lips as if to whistle or to blow out a candle. Exhale slowly through pursed lips.
Sit or lie down. Put your hands on your belly. Take a deep breath through your nose. As you breathe in, feel your diaphragm expand with oxygen. Breathe out slowly through pursed lips. Concentrate on breathing. Repeat and relax. If practiced regularly, breathing exercises can increase oxygen levels and help both your mind and your body.