Breathing. We all do it; we need to in order to survive. But are you breathing optimally? Surely there can’t be a ‘special’ way to breathe you say?! There is and it’s called ‘diaphragmatic breathing’, or is sometimes referred to as ‘belly breathing’. Here we’ll look at diaphragmatic breathing benefits and how to breathe in this way.
Many people constantly breathe in and out of the top part of the chest. This is especially true during times of anxiety and stress. If you’re a mum you might experience these feelings of stress when the house has been turned upside down. Or perhaps just when everyone is screaming or wanting a piece of you. The fast upper chest breathing that often accompanies these stressful times is an inefficient way of breathing. It is not conducive to effective relaxation. But that’s ok. Today you’re going to learn to breathe differently. You’re soon to find out all about diaphragmatic breathing benefits and how to breathe in this way, especially during times of stress.
Diaphragmatic breathing benefits
You need to be in a state of relaxation for many of your body’s processes to function optimally. Stress is necessary at certain times, but what you need to be able to do is to come out of it and to return to a state of relaxation. In a state of relaxation your digestive system is able to work effectively, the lymphatic system gets stimulated to release toxins and fluids, and you are also able to burn fat more effectively. (You can find out more about this in Elly’s book ‘Burning Fat for Good‘).
Diaphragmatic breathing benefits your body by decreasing the level of stress hormones (adrenalin and cortisol) that are circulating. It is something that can have a very immediate effect on your wellbeing…you’ve just got to remember to do it!
How to breathe properly
To practice diaphragmatic breathing, sit comfortably with a straight back, place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest, and close your eyes. As you take a long, slow breath in, you should first feel the hand on your belly rise as your tummy fills with air. Towards the end of the in-breath you will feel the hand on your chest rise as air fills this space. Then slowly release the breath and feel both hands lower back in. Aim to make the ‘out-breath’ slightly longer than the ‘in-breath’. It’s that simple – now you just need to make time to do it, and remember to do it regularly.
Stop and take five big belly breaths any time you feel yourself getting overwhelmed with your ‘to-do’ list, stressed about a deadline, or the kids are causing you to ‘tear your hair out’. Diaphragmatic breathing benefits can be experienced in a matter of only one minute, simply by stopping to take these deep breaths. You should feel calmer and more relaxed. More profound diaphragmatic breathing benefits will emerge by making this type of breathing part of your everyday life.
If you enjoyed this blog post, I recommend you read about another simple tip for reducing stress.
My free audio download has some valuable information on the effects that stress can have on your body. Listen to three experts share their knowledge on holistic health and fitness, and how to burn fat effectively.
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I write for a number of publications and generally publish a blog once a week about finding ways to enjoy a more happy and healthy lifestyle.
I also come across a lot of useful healthy information all the time. If I find something of value, I'd love to share it with you.
Also published on Medium.