If you’re like me, anxiety plays a huge part in your day-to-day life and you may have to find ways to avoid triggers. However, this isn’t always possible as an adult. So, in those instances where you know you are – or will be – in a high stress situation it is imperative that you have the tools to handle it.
One of the tools I use is:
Deep breathing isn’t always the best tool for an anxiety attack, but it is a good tool for high stress/high anxiety. Taking calm, deep breaths has a plethora of benefits.
1) Increased Oxygen:
Deep breathing causes an influx of high quality oxygen into the body. As mentioned above, the air we breathe is the most fundamental element we consume. We are constantly breathing, and should make a conscious effort to take long, full, deep breaths as often as possible. Additionally, try to surround yourself with high-quality oxygen. Go into Nature, and soak in Her high-vibrational energy through deep breathing.
Some benefits of increased oxygen include greater awareness, heightened concentration and alertness, and enhanced memory. A greater amount of oxygen calms the mind and stabilizes the central nervous system. Increased oxygen has been proven to promote vitality and creative thinking, as well as decrease the intensity of anxiety.
2) Increased Dopamine:
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (a chemical substance in the brain that is responsible for the transfer of an electrical impulse from one nerve fiber to another) that plays a vital role in the body’s movements, motivation, decision-making, and mood.
Practising deep breathing floods your brain with dopamine, resulting in an enhanced feeling of well-being. Your bodily movements become freer and smoother. The pleasure-reward pathway is widened, resulting in a much greater productivity and sense of motivation. In short, dopamine makes you feel amazing, and inspires new creative endeavors.
Many doctors prescribe medications that increase dopamine levels in the brain to people suffering from depression. Deep breathing can serve as a natural remedy to increase dopamine levels. Start a deep breathing practice today.
3) Increased Serotonin:
Serotonin is another neurotransmitter that has a deep calming effect on the body and mind. Serotonin eases tension and lowers stress. It leaves us feeling more relaxed, but still very focused.
Doctors prescribe medications that increase serotonin levels to people suffering from anxiety, bipolar disorder, inferiority complexes, and insomnia. Why not start a deep breathing practice for increased serotonin levels? Do it today.
4) Increased Oxytocin:
Oxytocin is commonly known as the “love molecule.” It is yet another neurotransmitter that gets released after a series of deep breathing exercises. This particular neurotransmitter greatly increases the sex drive, and creates a strong desire for intimacy. It also induces feelings of optimism, raises self-esteem, and builds a sense of trust with other beings.
Oxytocin has been proven in numerous studies to break down social barriers — helping people overcome social inhibitions and fears. Many doctors and psychiatrists agree that oxytocin helps patients suffering from anxiety and mood disorders, as well as people with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Why not naturally flood your brain with oxytocin every single day? All it takes is daily deep breathing practice. Start today.
5) Increased Endorphins:
Endorphins are the last neurotransmitter we will discuss today. This neurotransmitter is a pain-relieving substance that helps you deal with stress. Endorphins make you feel happier, and put you in a very relaxed state.
Many athletes know from experience the sometimes-guilty pleasures of an endorphin-induced high that follows a difficult workout. Although the physical body is exhausted, the mind is in a state of pure ecstasy. It is common knowledge in the fitness culture that the endorphin-high from exercising results in a clear, balanced mind. Start a deep breathing practice today, and enjoy all the benefits of endorphins.
6) A Calmer State Of Consciousness:
Deep breathing induces a mental state of tranquility. Everything is slowed down. Things seem clearer. Deep breathing quickly changes your brain waves. Most of us spend the whole day in the Gamma and Beta frequencies. This is approximately between 33 Hz and 12 Hz. Enough deep breathing eventually lowers your brain waves to the Alpha frequency (8 – 12 Hz), then to Theta and Delta frequencies, which are in the ranges 3 – 8 Hz and 0.2 – 3 Hz, respectively.
Theta brain waves result in a feeling of extreme relaxation. It is a very receptive mental state that is wide-open to self-suggestion, hypnotherapy, and positive affirmations (mantras).
Delta brain waves are the slowest of all brain waves. When you are in the Delta frequency, the body is healing itself. Your internal clocks are being reset. You are literally getting younger. The Delta frequency IS the fountain of youth.
Lower your brain waves into states of pure relaxation and self-healing with deep breathing. Start NOW.
7) A Detoxified Body And Mind:
Our bodies are designed to release 80% of toxins through breathing. Carbon dioxide is a natural waste product that is eliminated through the respiratory system. Shallow breathing (chest breathing) does not allow the toxins to absorb into the exhaling breath (to be released). Breathing slowly and deeply gives your body the opportunity to release as many toxins as possible.
Purifying your body and mind results in clearer thinking. It also stabilizes your emotional state, allowing you to make more rational choices. Start your cleansing today with a deep breathing practice.
8) Pain Relief — Mental And Physical:
As mentioned in Number 5 (Increased Endorphins), deep breathing greatly reduces pain — both physical and mental. When we experience pain, our natural reaction is to hold our breath. Deep breathing reverses this process, and allows us to fully breathe into the pain, feel/experience it, and then let it go completely.
The endorphins released during deep breathing act as natural pain killers. Do yourself a favor, and start a deep breathing practice today, so the self-healing can begin.
9) Greatly Enhanced Mood:
As mentioned in Numbers 2, 3, and 4 (Dopamine, Serotonin, and Oxytocin), deep breathing results in a greatly enhanced mood. Constant feelings of euphoria quickly come to the committed practitioner. Countless studies have proven the connection between deep breathing and an elevated mood.
Start a deep breathing practice right NOW. Choose to be happier, and use the breath as your vehicle.
10) Improved Posture:
What does posture have to do with mental health? Honestly, it has a whole lot to do with it. The spine is the center of your being. It is the highway of life-force energy. When your posture is poor, energy blocks quickly develop in the chakras (the 7 spinning wheels of energy that run along the spine). These energy blocks soon manifest in your physical reality. For example, a problem with the thoracic spine could result in blocked Heart and Solar Plexus Chakras. In turn, this can result in low self-esteem (Solar Plexus Chakra) and/or social anxiety (Heart Chakra).
When you practice deep breathing, postural awareness is quickly put into play. You will soon find yourself automatically correcting your posture throughout the day with a little bit of practice. Start today.
11) Abundant Energy — Mental and Physical:
My personal favorite benefit of deep breathing is the TREMENDOUS amount of energy it gives me. Deep breathing fills me with SO MUCH positive life-force energy. Breathing deeply can prove to be a more effective stimulant than caffeine if you give it an honest try.
I have included a YouTube link below to a video of Elliott Hulse. He is a pioneer in the field of BioEnergetics. Hopefully, his enthusiasm and passion can inspire you to start a deep breathing practice.
Start today. Breathe your way to better health.
12) Lowered Blood Pressure:
Another amazing physical benefit of deep breathing is the resulting lower blood pressure. The deep calmness that comes from high-quality breaths allows the tense muscles to relax. This, in turn, dilates the blood vessels, and improves circulation.
High blood pressure is often linked with anxiety. Regulate your blood pressure levels with a deep breathing practice. By starting today, you are already reducing your anxiety.
13) Present Moment Awareness:
The breath is your vehicle to the present moment. A deep breathing practice will keep you centered there. If you’ve read my previous two articles, you know how much I harp on present moment awareness. It is the key to personal freedom and empowerment. There are no limitations in the NOW. It is full of unlimited possibility.
How it Works: There are different types of deep breathing strategies, but the simplest involves sitting in a chair with your back straight and your arms on the armrests. You take a deep, slow breath in through your nose lasting close to 5 or 6 seconds. You then hold for a few seconds, and breathe out slowly through your mouth, taking close to 7 seconds (breathe out like you’re whistling). Repeat 10 times. I do this anywhere I am. I will be standing in line at the DMV (no kidding, I just did this today) doing this exercise. It has proven to be enormously helpful in controlling my anxiety and at times even preventing panic attacks!