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Anxiety: Can Breathing Exercises Improve Mental Well-Being?

Deep breathing stimulates the relaxation response, reduces muscle tension and calms the mind

Breathing exercises are techniques or activities that focus on controlling and improving your breathing. They may involve deep or shallow breathing, holding your breath, or changing the pattern or rate of your breathing. Breathing exercises have various benefits for our well-being by improving various physiological functions and increasing the state of relaxation. Read on as we share a list of the mental health benefits you can get from practicing breathing exercises.

Deep breathing exercises help to increase lung capacity and strengthen the respiratory muscles.

Here are 9 ways breathing exercises can improve our overall health.

1. Reduce stress

Deep breathing activates the body’s relaxation response, reduces stress hormones such as cortisol, and promotes a sense of calm. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system response, counteracting the fight or flight response.

2. Improve lung function

Deep breathing exercises expand the lungs, increase their capacity and improve ventilation. This helps to increase the amount of oxygen reaching the body’s cells and effectively remove carbon dioxide.

3. Improve cardiovascular health

Deep breathing practice lowers heart rate and lowers blood pressure. This reduces the workload on the heart and improves cardiovascular health.

4. Increase in energy levels

Oxygen is necessary for the production of energy in the body. By practicing deep breathing techniques, we provide more oxygen to the cells, increase energy levels and reduce fatigue.

5. Improve digestion

Deep diaphragmatic breathing helps stimulate the vagus nerve, which plays an important role in digestion. It promotes healthy digestion and relieves symptoms of indigestion, bloating and constipation.

6. Increase mental clarity

Deep breathing exercises increase oxygen levels in the brain, improving mental alertness, focus and clarity. Reduces brain fog and improves cognitive function.

7. Supporting immune functions

Correct breathing techniques increase the efficiency of the lymphatic system, which removes toxins, waste and pathogens from the body. This strengthens the immune system and helps prevent disease.

8. Promote relaxation and better sleep

Deep breathing stimulates the relaxation response, reduces muscle tension and calms the mind. It can help relieve insomnia, promote better quality sleep, and improve overall sleep patterns.

9. Controlling anxiety and depression

Breathing exercises have been shown to reduce anxiety, depression and other symptoms of mood disorders. It helps regulate emotions, reduces the production of stress hormones, and promotes a sense of security and peace.

The benefits of these breathing exercises are facilitated by various physiological mechanisms. Deep breathing techniques often involve engaging the diaphragm, a dome-shaped muscle located below the lungs. This activates the relaxation response and stimulates the vagus nerve, which affects various body functions.

Deep breathing increases lung capacity and efficiency, which improves blood oxygenation. The increased oxygen supports a variety of physiological processes, including energy production, immune function, and hormone regulation.

Moreover, deep breathing exercises reduce stress hormones and initiate a positive feedback loop, which helps the body and mind relax more. By reducing stress and promoting relaxation, breathing exercises have a positive effect on the body’s immune system. This positive cycle contributes to improving overall health and well-being.

Disclaimer: This content provides general information only, including advice. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical advice. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not take responsibility for this information.