Stress is pervasive in today’s world. Every profession has some kind of inherent stress. Many stressful souls are trying to find ways to relax their minds through drugs, expensive vacations, therapies, etc. An entire stress management industry has taken birth. However this technique is simple and yet so potent in reducing stress. Moreover, it does not cost anything. Anybody can practice it and experience instant benefits.
I am referring to the technique of deep breathing. Yoga has always recognized the importance of deep breathing. Pranayama (breath control) is taught in yoga classes and it is very important aspect of proper form of a yogic asana. Monks use deep breathing in meditation. However, it is important and easy to apply its practice to our everyday lives.
Keep in mind these two simple principles and even 3-4 deep such breaths will provide significant benefit.
- Use slow, deep and even breaths
- Make sure that your diaphragm contracts. Shallow breathing is done only at the chest level.
Below are some of the benefits and scenarios where I have experienced benefits of deep breathing:
- Relieves stress If you are in a stressful situation at work or anywhere else, you are probably breathing shallow. Observe your breath and make sure that you are breathing deep. It provides us a way to reduce the flight or fight response produced in our body.
- Mindfulness – Mindfulness is taking the wellness world by storm. It is simple and effective way to control our thoughts. Even CEOs and corporates are talking about it. Deep breathing is an excellent way to develop mindfulness. During the course of your day, try to breathe deeply a few times which will naturally help you in becoming self-aware and mindful.
- Eliminate Stage Fear – If you have to perform over stage (music, speech, etc.) and if it is making nervous, deep breathing works wonderfully to remove the anxiousness and make sure that you do your best. I provide music performances to small audiences and I regularly face apprehension irrespective of my diligent practice. Therefore, I do deep breathing for a few minutes just before the performance and it has helped me in reducing the stage fear.
- Strengthens Immune System – Due to better flow of oxygen through our blood stream and reduced stress levels, immune system gets a boost. Deep breathing helps in several respiratory and stress related diseases.