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Stress management 101: Here is how deep breathing can help you feel calmer

Updated on:5 May 2020, 18:10pm IST
Feeling stressed? Just sit comfortably and do some deep breathing exercises to calm down--because even science says it works.
Nikita Bhardwaj
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It’s time to win the battle against stress with deep breaths. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Many of us think that binging on web series is the break we need to bring down our stress levels. While this can distract you from your stressors, deep breathing can help you actually deal with stress.

Do you know that a study published in a journal Breathe suggests that deep breathing has a psychological effect on the mind and body, because of which it brings a sense of calm?

But what is deep breathing really?
We can’t really survive without breathing now can we? So then what is deep breathing and why is it so hallowed? Well, taking deep breaths is all about inhaling maximum oxygen in your lungs and exhaling carbon dioxide slowly and steadily.

stress management
Taking deep breaths can help you beat stress. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

There are different deep breathing exercises that you can practice to calm your senses like anulom vilom and pranayama. In fact, sudarshan kriya yoga or yogic breathing technique also helps in boosting immunity and has a positive impact on people dealing with depression, according to a study published in the International Journal of Yoga.

This is how deep breathing works
In layman terms, when you deep breathe you purposely focus more on your breath. When you focus better then you tend to inhale more oxygen which is then pumped into your body and has a calming effect on your nerves. Deep breaths also increase nitric oxide levels in your body which brings heart rate under control, thus keeping those heart palpitations in check.

More oxygen while deep breathing also means an increased supply of oxygen to the brain, which stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and helps in promoting peace of mind.

Now let’s come to the most important part of this guide:

This is how you can practice deep breathing
You should practice taking deep breaths on a daily basis for at least 10 to 15 minutes to feel calm always. In fact, you can do deep breathing even in your office when you’re around stressors. How? Well, just follow these simple steps:

  • Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Focus on your breath.
  • Take a deep breath, till the time you feel that your lungs and belly are full.
  • Now slowly exhale, ensuring you don’t expel all the air rapidly.
  • Repeat this for at least 10 to 15 times.To focus better on your breath, feel the rise and fall of your belly. Also, if you are doing this at home, lie down and practice it. You’ll be more comfortable this way. You can also count in your head while inhaling and exhaling or playing some calming music for better focus.

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    Remember, it won’t be easy when you start out
    If you have never meditated or tried deep breathing, your first few times won’t be easy. The deep breaths will make you feel uncomfortable and you will focus on anything and everything apart from your breathing.

    But like they say: practice makes perfect. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it and the calmer you’ll feel. So the next time stress attacks you, take deep breaths.

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Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.