Deep breathing has so many incredible benefits that extend far beyond just helping you to feel calm and reduce the effects of stress.
Being aware of your breathing actually helps to reduce the amount of cortisol in your body which will help you to manage stress better and you’ll feel more relaxed overall.
It also helps to improve digestion, improving gut health so your body is better able to produce serotonin (your brain’s happy chemical).
Take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Really feel the air go deep down into your belly and hold for a second or two before exhaling.
I like to really focus on deep breathing during my yoga and meditation sessions every day but I try hard to pay attention to how my breathing is throughout the rest of the day too.
You’ll be surprised at how shallow your breaths may be.
Deep breathing also helps to flush out toxins and keeps you looking younger too 😉
I’m also a huge fan of alternate nostril breathing, it helps to streamline your breath so you are only taking in what you need and not “gulping” air resulting in dizziness and shortness of breath.
Here is a short video of me doing alternate nostril breathing followed by the instructions:
- You close your one nostril with your thumb and inhale through the other nostril.
- You then close the nostril you’ve just breathed in through and exhale the air through the other nostril.
- Now breath in through the nostril you’ve just exhaled out of before closing and exhaling through the other nostril.
- Repeat at least 5 times and do it throughout the day, whenever you need to clear your mind and get focused.
What can happen when you’re experiencing shortness of breath?
The most common cause of this feeling is due to shallow breathing when we’re in an anxious state, where we don’t breathe fully into our bellies.
It can then cause that feeling that you just haven’t gotten enough air when you absolutely have, your breaths are just short and shallow, instead of long and deep.
When I have it really bad, I literally need to yawn to feel like I can catch a breath, but it doesn’t always work. I’m obviously still breathing though because I haven’t passed out, it’s just that feeling of not being able to get a breath.
In fact, an amazing doctor I had back in South Africa told me to not yawn to get a breath, but to just force myself to breathe slowly in and out through my nose to start regulating my breathing again.
He said even if you feel like passing out, push through it and stick with your long, slow, deep breaths and this advice really helped me so much.
Even if you still feel like you need to get more air, the long slow breathing in and out through your nose definitely makes a huge difference.
Another reason for this feeling is due to a tightness in the chest from tight, tense muscles, which is a natural reaction to tension and anxiety so be sure to be consciously aware of relaxing each muscle as you breathe slowly in and out.
Have you taken some deep breaths today? 🧘🏼♀️