top of page
Ad Banners (3).png

The Benefits of Daily Deep Breathing and Its Impact on Your Health

Updated: Nov 18, 2023

Stress has become far too familiar for Americans since 2020.


In fact, it’s become such a familiar subject that a 2020 survey actually revealed that as many as 8 in every 10 adults (84%) would admit to experiencing some emotion related to dealing with lingering stress in their life.

This emotion could be anything from anger (39%), anxiety (47%), or sadness (44%), but it’s always rooted in some unresolved stress.


It doesn’t take an expert to know that stress is not an enjoyable part of everyday life. But what many don’t realize is that stress goes beyond just making us uncomfortable. Stress, when left untreated, can wreak havoc on an individual's health.



Eli DeFaria x Unsplash
Eli DeFaria x Unsplash

So, what’s causing all this unwanted and seemingly unavoidable stress in Americans?


There were plenty of stressors in 2022, but the top five triggers reported were money, work, mental health, physical health, and family. These five areas comprised 68% of Americans' reasons for weekly and daily stress.


But there are more reasons for stress than just money, health, and family. Americans also reported that people in their lives were sources of built-up stress. The highest reported stress-inducing individuals were spouses, bosses, parents, or kids.



And of course, in addition to people, money, work, health, and family, nothing can stress out an individual like a worldwide pandemic. Between national lockdowns, job layoffs, and millions of people getting sick, it’s no surprise that 44% of Americans surveyed claimed the 2021 pandemic was the most stressful experience of their lives.


To combat stress, 44% of Americans watch TV or movies, 14% resort to alcohol, and 9% use recreational drugs such as marijuana. These coping mechanisms offer momentary relief from everyday stress but do not reduce its damaging effects.


Americans need a better solution for combatting stress, and daily deep breathing may be the answer.


Max van den Oetelaar x Unsplash
Max van den Oetelaar x Unsplash

What is Deep Breathing?


Deep breathing, or abdominal breathing, is a technique used to increase the amount of oxygen reaching your brain while simultaneously stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. This process activates the body’s natural relaxation response, a physical state of rest.


This physical state of rest allows for several things to occur within your body:

  • Decreased heart rate

  • Relaxation of the muscles

  • Slower and more controlled breathing

  • Decreased blood pressure

  • Increased nitric oxide level


But why should you be concerned with your body experiencing any of the things listed above?


When your heart rate increases, it means it’s working harder than it should be and pumping more blood. It’s doing more work and becoming more stressed.


A high heart rate could indicate cardiovascular disease or early death. By decreasing your heart rate, you’re actively relaxing it and preventing negative stress on your heart.



Likewise, relaxed muscles improve mental health, promote digestion, and combat chronic pain.


High blood pressure can lead to several dangerous heart conditions, such as coronary artery disease, an enlarged left heart, and heart failure. It can also increase your chances of a stroke or permanent kidney damage.


Decreasing your blood pressure through deep breathing will not only reduce your risks of heart, kidney, and stroke complications but can also improve your quality of life and possibly increase your lifespan.


Increased nitric oxide levels allow for better blood flow and lower blood pressure, which promotes a healthy and happy heart and prevents the risks of the previously listed heart issues.


Deep breathing is more than just a “feel good” mechanism or a stress reducer. Deep breathing can literally do miracles on an individual's mental and physical well-being.


 Brooke Cagle x Unsplash
Brooke Cagle x Unsplash

How to Deep Breathe Effectively


According to Harvard Medical School, the most important component to successful deep breathing is creating a routine you can stick with. There might be several ways to practice deep breathing effectively, but what’s most important is finding the way that feels best for you.


Here are the following tips Harvard suggests:

  • Find a quiet location where you can comfortably sit or lie down.

  • Relax. Don’t get caught up in trying too hard or forcing it. Overthinking can cause tension, which creates the opposite effect of what you’re trying to accomplish.

  • Shift your focus from those points of stress to deep and calm rhythms.

  • Practice your routine throughout the day and around the same times each day. This will help you establish it as a habit.

  • Duration should fall anywhere from 10-20 minutes.



When it comes to the actual breathing action, breath focus will be your guide.


Breath focus is exactly what it sounds like—focusing on each breath. This concentration will allow you to take your mind off of the stressors around you and onto your deep breathing.


First, take a normal breath.


Now, take a deep breath by slowly breathing in through your nose. Feel your entire chest and lower belly fill up with air. Do all of this very slowly and intentionally. Finally, once you feel you’ve filled up entirely with air, release it slowly through your mouth. Repeat the process.


It’s recommended to include some peaceful imagery or perhaps a relaxing phrase while practicing your deep breathing. In addition, try to release any built-up tension in your shoulder area. This is the most common area for stress to build up and cause muscle tension.


Remember, for best results, your duration should be anywhere from 10-20 minutes and done several times a day—especially, but not limited to, those specific moments of intense stress or panic.


Willian Justen de Vasconcellos x Unsplash
Willian Justen de Vasconcellos x Unsplash

Adding Deep Breathing to Your Schedule


Don’t be stressed about adding another task to your already packed schedule. Daily deep breathing is supposed to be a relaxing and helpful tool, not another assignment to check off or worry about.


1. Select specific times throughout the day for scheduled deep breathing.


Setting a reminder on your phone will help you remember. This could be first thing in the morning, getting your mindset for the day ahead. Or it could be smack in the middle of the day when you know you’ll need to step away from the chaos.


It could also be the last thing you do before bed, helping you get a more restful night’s sleep. Whatever time you choose, scheduling your deep breathing can help ensure you incorporate it into your day and prevent any unnecessary stress trying to fit it in.



2. Incorporate deep breathing into your other daily tasks.


If you can’t free up specific times for deep breathing, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the benefits altogether.


Try the breath focus routine mentioned earlier at work, during your commute, or while doing chores around the house. If done correctly, you’ll still experience the benefits of deep breathing.


3. Practice deep breathing with a loved one.


There’s no rule that says deep breathing has to be done alone to be effective. If you’re increasing your air intake, your body can still benefit from intentional deep breathing.


For some, having a partner with them might make them feel more comfortable, and it helps with accountability to practice deep breathing daily. So, grab your spouse, children, or co-workers and start deep breathing!


Takeaway


Unfortunately, stressors in our lives are usually unavoidable. But that doesn’t mean our physical and mental health has to suffer.


Start practicing daily deep breathing today and get ready for the benefits that follow!





 

Holtarian is your ultimate go-to source for all of your holistic lifestyle needs & curiosities. Health-conscious and environmentally-conscious people worldwide can enjoy all of the information and resources this platform offers!

bottom of page