Better breathing can reduce stress and increase energy, among many other benefits. How to breathe better tips and exercises can help you start breathing better today.
In this article:
- How to Breathe Better Tips
- How to Breathe Better for More Energy
- Resonance Breathing
- How to Breathe Better for Stress Relief
- Relaxation and How to Breathe Better for Sleep
How to Breathe Better | Tips and Techniques to Try
Tips on Breathing Better
Breathe Through Your Nose
Breathing through your nose has many advantages. Because nostrils filter the air, it prevents particles and allergens from reaching your lungs. It also adds heat and moisture to make inhaling smoother, especially in cold or dry conditions.
Furthermore, breathing through your nose enables more oxygen to reach cells throughout the body. Breathing through your nose releases nitric oxide, which improves blood flow and gas exchanges in the lungs. In other words, nitric oxide release from nasal breathing facilitates inhaled oxygen entering arterial circulation and carbon dioxide leaving the venous circulation through exhaled air.
Use Your Belly
Stress, restrictive clothing, or bad posture can create a habit of breathing with your chest. As a result, your rib cage can’t fully expand, and you take shallow breaths. Consequently, air doesn’t reach the lower lobes of the lungs, where most blood flow occurs.
In other words, shallow breathing supplies less oxygen to the blood and causes poor nutrient delivery to your cells.
On the other hand, when you breathe with your belly*, you can breathe deeply and efficiently. As your abdomen expands, your diaphragm contracts downwards, which forces air into all four lobes of the lungs.
*You can place your hand on your abdomen and watch the rise and fall as you breathe.
Practice Makes Perfect
Practicing to breathe better may be especially beneficial for someone suffering from a lung disease like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma. Sometimes they use other muscles, such as shoulder or neck muscles, to breathe. As a result, breathing is inefficient and requires more energy.
Similar to strengthening your body with exercise, you can train to improve your breathing. If you consciously change your breathing habits, it will develop on an unconscious level as well.
Follow a Healthy Lifestyle
In addition to breathing exercises, a healthy lifestyle can improve lung function, including:
- Eating a balanced diet
- Avoid eating large meals that may constrict the movement of the diaphragm
- Stay hydrated, especially when ill, to thin mucus and help add moisture when breathing
- Regular exercise
- Stretching to improve your posture
- Avoiding polluted air, irritants, and allergens when possible
- Practicing meditation and relaxation techniques to stay calm and prevent hyperventilation
How to Breathe Better for More Energy
If you need more energy, alternate nostril breathing may help.
- Sitting in an upright position, bring your hand in front of your face and close one nostril with your thumb.
- Take a deep breath through your open nostril.
- Release your thumb and press your ring finger on the outside of the other nostril, closing it as you exhale.
- Do this for 1-2 minutes, then switch sides and repeat.
- Finally, breathing is all about balance, so spend equal amounts of time inhaling and exhaling through each nostril.
Several studies have found breathing exercises may be beneficial for physical health.
Resonance breathing or six breaths per minute, activates the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve controls the nervous system. It’s sometimes called the rest and digest nerve because it allows the body to move from fight or flight mode to a calm state.
- Sit or lie in a comfortable position.
- For a count of six, inhale deeply using your belly.
- Next, exhale for a count of six.
- Repeat ten times.
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How to Breathe Better for Stress Relief
One of the best-known benefits of deep breathing is stress relief. Besides stimulating the vagus nerve, it reduces the impact of the stress hormone cortisol.
- Sit or lie in a comfortable position with one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest.
- As you inhale deeply through your nose, push your hand out with your belly. Make sure your chest doesn’t move.
- Purse your lips and exhale through your mouth.
- Slowly inhale and exhale ten times.
Relaxation and How to Breathe Better for Sleep
- Lie in a comfortable position with your eyes closed.
- Rest the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth and keep your top and bottom teeth slightly parted.
- Breathe in through your nose for three counts.
- Then hold your breath for a count of four.
- Finally, exhale through your mouth for five counts.
- Repeat for ten rounds or more.
Additionally, you can combine this technique with muscle tensing and releasing to fall asleep faster. Tense all the muscles in your body and clench your fists as you inhale. Then relax as you exhale.
To sum up, the way you breathe impacts your health and well being. Breathing exercises can help calm your mind and body, leading to a healthier, happier life. Your body is designed for breathing, so take full advantage of it!