One of the most effective methods to calm down and reduce anxiety is so basic we often take it for granted: taking a breath. Focusing on your breathing can improve your well-being and decrease stress levels, and can even create physiological changes like lowering your blood pressure. When it comes to improving our health, many of us focus on our diet or exercise habits before we even consider the simple act of deepening our breath.
“We take our breath for granted the way we take our heart beat for granted,” Carla Ardito, a breathing expert at Manhattan’s Integral Yoga Institute, told The Huffington Post. “The difference is we can work on our breathing.”
And there’s plenty of precedent. For thousands of years, the yogic practice of pranayama (Sanskrit for “extension of the life-force”) has been used as a method geared towards reducing stress and healing the body and mind through intentional breathing exercises.
Here are 7 top health benefits of focusing on your breathing:
- Stimulates Brain Growth
- Improves Heart Rate Variability
- Lowers Stress Levels
- Alleviates Anxiety & Negative Emotions
- Reduces Testing Anxiety
- Lowers Blood Pressure
- Alters Your Gene Expression