Breathe Better, Feel Better: The Easiest Way to Improve Your Health
A breath marks the beginning and the ending of life. Of course, it could go without saying that breathing is important, but how you breathe is also incredibly important.
It can be the difference between a happy, healthy life and a miserable one.
As far back as the first millennium BC, religious practices such as Hinduism and Taoism emphasized the importance of consciously controlling the breath.
But it wasn’t until more recent centuries that we’ve scientifically studied the effects of modulated breath.
And what these studies show is that controlled breathing may be the easiest and most effective way to combat a countless number of mental and physical conditions.
Well, you may have noticed in the past that when you feel calm, relaxed, or safe, the rate of your breath slows down and you inhale deeper.
And when you feel anxious, frightened, or uncomfortable, the rate of your breath speeds up and you inhale more shallowly.
But get this:
You can actually reverse the direction of these effects. Instead of your body and mind having control over your breath, your breath can control your body and mind.
When anxiety strikes and your breath naturally begins to shallow and accelerate, you can modulate your breathing to reduce your anxiety.
These effects were studied at the Manipal University in India in 2017.1 The participants used a slow breathing technique shortly before a public speaking engagement.
Amazingly, they experienced significantly less stress, anxiety, and stage fright than the control group.
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The thing is, breath modulation is not only a solution to acute problems like a moment of stage fright or feeling stressed after an especially rough day.
It can also help chronic issues such as insomnia or depression.
A 2015 study showed the effects of a two-week breathing technique program — Sudarshan Kriya Yoga — on a group of patients with anxiety and depression.2
The patients experienced tremendous improvements that could still be seen in a follow-up six months later.
What’s even more amazing is that these patients experienced the same effects as patients who were on prescription medications — but without all the nasty side effects.
Of course, pharmaceutical companies can’t patent and sell breathing techniques, so you won’t find a dramatic commercial for this anxiety and depression cure.
But yoga and other mindfulness and meditation practices do take advantage of the effects that breathing techniques have on the body and mind.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be an expert to benefit from breathing techniques.
Here are five simple tips you can use today:
- Sit or stand straight (but relaxed) to allow your lungs space
- Focus your mind on the rising and falling sensation of breathing
- After inhaling, slowly count to three before exhaling
- Close one nostril to inhale and switch to the other to exhale
- Imagine inhaling calm and exhaling stress
Using these techniques can be a perfect way to increase your energy or combat conditions such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, lethargy, and high blood pressure.
Better breathing really is the easiest way to a happier and healthier life.
To your health,
President, Longevity Insider HQ