In your lifetime you have probably come across the phrase ‘take a deep breath’. You may have heard it in situations that cause you or someone else a feeling of panic and stress.
Taking a deep breath and breathing slowly is known to help a person relax and calm their nerves. This is because it activates the parasympathetic division of your nervous system. The parasympathetic division assists in regulating your blood pressure and lowering your heart rate.
When your body becomes stressed it activates the fight or flight mode which is the other division of your nervous system called the sympathetic nervous system.
When the sympathetic nervous system is activated many bodily processes occur such as causing your body to not digest properly, not burn body fat and raising your blood pressure. So, when we breathe deeply, we help our body stop this process and allow our body to return to digesting, burning fat and looking after our immunity.
Keeping our body regularly calm is therefore important because it means we are giving our body space to look after us and help us feel well and happy. Therefore, it is crucial that we don’t allow things like emails, people’s negative responses or too much caffeine (which can cause adrenalin, a stress hormone, to activate our sympathetic nervous system response) to cause us consistent stress. The consistency of stress can be the underlying cause of many health issues.
A breathing technique that can help you relax is called diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing. This is where you take a deep breath by inhaling through your nose and expanding your belly, so that it’s like the breath is going into your belly. You then pause and exhale through your nose at a slow and steady pace. This can be repeated as many times as you feel needed to relax.
There are some excellent apps that can help you stay focused on breathing. An app that I find supportive is called The Breathing App. It’s free and is very easy to use. If you think that might be helpful click here to download the app.