Do you know why it’s so important to breathe deeply? I wrote a blog post on anxiety and panic attacks I talked about anxiety and how deep breathing makes such a difference during a panic attack.
I’d like to expand on this a bit today – as much for me as for you. You see, I tend to breathe very shallow. In the short term, this isn’t a big deal but in the long run, it’s a HUGE deal.
In laymen’s terms, shallow breathing causes less oxygen to get into your cells and soon enough (rather than later), you begin to feel sluggish, cranky, emotional or anxious and you don’t know why.
As a matter of fact, my mother endured a battery of tests back in the late 1990’s because she was exhausted and couldn’t figure out why. The lab ran tests on nearly every system in her body. All the tests came back showing her to be healthy as a horse.
The doctor went over all the information and pinned down shallow breathing as the diagnosis. She gave my mother a series of deep breathing exercises to do several times each day and after a few weeks, mom started to feel her energy coming back.
While you’re reading this, breathe deeply. :)
Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous System
www.PsychCentral.com offers a really good explanation of why deep breathing is so very important to your health:
The practice of deep breathing stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), responsible for activities that occur when our body is at rest. It functions in an opposite manner to the sympathetic nervous system, which stimulates activities associated with the fight-or-flight response.
When your sympathetic nervous system is stimulated, you are in fight or flight mode. Many of your normal bodily functions are put “on hold” so that you can concentrate on actually fighting or fleeing in an emergency. During this process, your breathing becomes very shallow to allow your system to properly respond for you survival.
You want your parasympathetic nervous system to take over in normal everyday situations. After you go through a fight or flight episode, it takes your body about 30 minutes to flip the switch back over to the parasympathetic function.
Practicing Deep Breathing Exercises
Okay, I’m not a doctor and I don’t have a doctor pose – so the above explanation is very generalized but believe me when I tell you that deep breathing is as important to your health as exercise and a healthy diet. If you lead a stressful life, have asthma or are burning the candle at both ends, you should practice some deep breathing exercises and some self care.
In the book The Healing Power of Breath by Richard P. Brown, M.D. and Patricia L. Gerbarg, M.D., the authors explain why deep breathing is so important:
By voluntarily changing the rate, depth, and pattern of breathing, we can change the messages being sent from the body’s respiratory system to the brain. In this way, breathing techniques provide a portal to the autonomic communication network through which we can, by changing our breathing patterns, send specific messages to the brain using the language of the body, a language the brain understands and to which it responds. Messages from the respiratory system have rapid, powerful effects on major brain centers involved in thought, emotion, and behavior.
One of the recommendations I make to clients as an aromatherapist is to breathe deeply. When you breathe deeply on a regular basis, you are giving yourself a drug-free solution to common stress and mood problems with no side effects whatsoever. You can use these breathing techniques for anxiety and stress reduction.
One way to breathe deeply is to pretend to smell a bouquet of beautiful flowers; press your lips together and V-E-R-Y S-L-O-W-L-Y take in long, deep breaths through your nostrils. Then, just as slowly, breathe out through your mouth. I call this method smell the flowers/blow out the candle.
While you’re practicing your deep breathing or if your head or chest are stuffy due to colds or allergies, here’s a wonderful blend to help you:
Deep Breathing Blend
- 3 drops Lemon (Citrus limon)
- 2 drops Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
- 1 drop Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
- 1 drop Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Combine all the drops in add to a cold mist diffuser to help you take deep, healing breaths.
Aromatherapy helps you feel better without using toxic pills for anxiety – especially if you really don’t need them.
Please let me show you how you can easily take charge of your overall well-being. Call or email or fill out this contact form today.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any product mentioned is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified medical professional for any health issue.