Take a Deep Breath

Updated: Jan 5, 2021

"Relax and take a deep breath...just breathe." This is a frequently heard statement in times of stress and anxiety. Unfortunately, this statement is often ignored. There is scientific research supporting the many health benefits of deep breathing. There are valuable exercises and ancient techniques focusing on breathing as a key source of wellness. We will focus on 7 key benefits of diaphragmatic (belly) breathing exercises.

1) Reduces anxiety and stress: In anxiety or stress, your heart rate increases, breathing is shallow, and muscles become tense. The body enters a "fight or flight" response and stress hormones are released. Deep breathing decreases your heart rate and releases a "feel good" hormone called endorphins. Endorphins have opioid activity, acting as a pain reliever and positively improving your mood. Stress hormones are inhibited and your body relaxes.

2) Natural pain killer: For those of us who have been fortunate enough to endure the pain of natural laboring, we know the importance of breathing exercises for the reduction of anxiety and pain. Deep breathing releases endorphins. As stated above, endorphins are a natural "feel good" hormone. Essential for pain relief.

3) Improves cognitive function: Deep breathing improves blood flow and oxygen delivery throughout the body. The brain functions best with oxygen. Deep breathing improves oxygen delivery to your brain; therefore, improves focus and mental sharpness.

4) Detoxifies your body: We previously mentioned an increase in blood flow and oxygen delivery. This increased flow allows for more efficient toxin removal. Increased oxygen also makes your body more alkaline. Studies show cancer and other chronic inflammatory diseases thrive in a more acidic environment. Creating and alkaline environment for your body can prevent the activation of many diseases.

5) Helps improve sleep: Breathing exercises decrease heart rate, calms body, and is used to help treat insomnia.

6) Used to help treat speech delay: Taking deep breaths improves stuttering by decreasing anxiety and improving mental sharpness as discussed above.

7) Improves indigestion: A constant state of stress and shallow breathing causes poor gastrointestinal function. This is due to increased stress hormones, decreased oxygen delivery, and increased intrabdominal pressure. The presentation can be irritable bowel syndrome or reflux. This can be reversed with proper breathing techniques.

***Deep Breathing Techniques

It is important to breath through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Take deep, prolonged breaths in and out. There are many different breathing techniques outside of diaphragmatic breathing that you can try as well. Of note, breathing techniques are also beneficial for children / adults with asthma or other chronic respiratory problems. After reading this, hopefully, you will take time out of your day to "just breathe". Practice breathing with any moment of peace or stress. This has helped me tremendously!

Follow the links below for simple deep breathing

exercises and techniques for adults and children!

Breathing Exercises for Kids – Children's Health

How to Teach Children How to Breathe Through the Nose (healthfully.com)

Breathing Exercises for Stuttering (healthfully.com)

Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercises & Techniques (clevelandclinic.org)

Examples of worksheets for your children below found on google search!

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https://m.timesofindia.com/life-style/ health-fitness/fitness/advantages-of-deep breathing-exercises/articleshow/ 19213960.cms

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