So many of us go about our daily lives without ever really giving thought to the fact that we are breathing. Sure, we associate and acknowledge breathing as a critical function that keeps us alive but breathing serves another significant purpose. Our breath is a dynamic and powerful tool when we choose to become more aware of it.
“When we breathe more consciously, our breath does much more than merely keep us alive - it enables us to live healthier, longer, and fuller lives,” says Dr. Flatow of Pacific Mind Health.
Here are few ways mindful breathing can improve your mood.
Mindfulness is what keeps us grounded and focused when we find ourselves in conversation with our minds. For some, this mind chatter happens more than they wish it would; for others, it happens more than they even notice.
When you take time to pause and focus on your breathing with awareness, in turn, it brings more attention to your thoughts. A daily practice of conscious breathing is essentially a mindfulness practice, wherein we must first tune into our thoughts before we can control them. All too often, our busy minds cause us to become stuck on unhelpful thoughts that we believe to be true.
Our negative thought processes impact us to such a degree that we begin to believe we are our thoughts. By tuning into the breath, we tune into ourselves, and this newfound awareness enables us to be more conscientious of acknowledging the thoughts that serve our best interest and letting go of the rest.
Fosters A Sense of Calm
When it comes to anxiety and stress, you likely know that the more you experience either of these, the more difficult it can become to control. Stress and anxiety can cause a spike in heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure, and to make matters worse, these uncomfortable physical symptoms can exacerbate these unwelcome feelings.
Focusing on your breathing can bring you out of this heightened state of alertness. Deep, diaphragmatic breathing, in particular, activates your parasympathetic nervous system. The calming messages your mind receives signal your body to lower your heart rate and blood pressure and, in turn, calm your mind.
Reduces Anxiety And Encourages Better Emotional Regulation
One way to understand the difference between stress and anxiety is that stress is a response to something happening in the present moment. In contrast, anxiety is typically indicative of a mental state that is stuck in either the past or the future. In other words, we often experience anxiety due to dwelling on things that have already happened or worrying about things that may not happen at all. Your breath can bring you into the present moment when you turn your attention to it, directing your focus away from your worrisome and anxious thoughts.
Have you ever noticed how nice it feels to release a long exhale or sigh? This is a natural bodily response that we do to relieve our anxiety or stress, and some of us might do this at the end of a long day without even realizing it; others do it without realizing this is what the breath is meant to do. So, imagine the world of benefits you could tap into by simply becoming more aware of your breath.
Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help improve the way you feel but sometimes they aren’t enough. There are many effective treatments for those who suffer from difficult and persistent cases of depression and anxiety. You don’t have to ‘push through’ another day. Our team provides compassionate care from your home through our telehealth services. We also offer TMS Therapy for treatment-resistant depression and other mental illnesses. Don’t hesitate to reach out for support today!