May is Mental Health Awareness Month so we’re joining the national movement to raise awareness and start more conversations surrounding mental illness. In addition to using our platform to shed light on the often avoided topic of mental health, we’re also providing simple ways to de-stress and feel your best on the blog! One of our favorite methods of feeling calmer and centered is through breathing. Sounds so simple, right? We breathe all the time! Actually, most people don’t naturally breathe in a way that is most beneficial to the body and overall wellbeing. So, if you’re interested in feeling less anxious and more energized, try applying these three breathing tips!
Breath Through Your Nose
Simply put, it’s impossible to calm down when you’re breathing through your mouth. While mouth breathing stimulates your fight-or-flight response, nasal breathing actually activates your parasympathetic nervous system which is the body’s rest-and-digest response. Nasal breathing also warms and humidifies incoming air, removes a significant amount of germs and bacteria from the air we breathe, and ultimately forces more oxygen into our cells.
Focus on longer inhales and exhales going deep into your lower torso, instead of your chest. The perfect breath is five seconds into the diaphragm and five seconds out, with a gentle pause on the exhale.
Slow Your Breathing Down
Fast and deep breathing has been linked to mental strain and high stress levels. When you consciously slow your breathing down, each breath becomes more focused and intentional. Light, quiet, effortless, and soft breathing is what leads to anxiety relief and even pain management.
Think of these three points as your breathing throughout the day and be amazed at how much better you feel both mentally and physically.