Breathing is often overlooked, despite its fundamental importance in our daily lives. We take around 20,000 breaths a day, but few of us pay attention to the potential benefits of conscious breathing. However, breathing exercises can help reduce anxiety, improve sleep, boost energy levels, and enhance focus at work.

Breathwork, as defined by Dr. Paras Patel, Chief Scientific Officer at The Zensory, involves the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body. Breathing not only provides energy through oxygen intake but also aids in stress management, rest, and digestion. Our primal reaction to a potentially threatening situation is a short inhalation, preparing the body for fight or flight. On the other hand, a long exhalation helps us relax after a tiring day.

Breathwork can counteract the negative effects of an overactive fight or flight response, reducing stress, heart rate, and blood pressure. It also offers various benefits such as increased energy levels, emotional wellbeing, balance, and clarity.

To improve breathing, it is recommended to breathe through the nose and into the belly, known as nasal breathing. This helps open the airways, increase blood flow, and promote diaphragmatic engagement for better oxygen delivery. Conscious breathing through the nose and a slow rhythm can reduce stress and inflammation levels while increasing energy levels.

Humming is another technique that can assist in opening the airways and increasing oxygen delivery. By directing the breath lower into the body, employing the diaphragm, individuals can improve core strength, stability, and overall posture. Observing and noting breathing patterns in different situations can provide insight into how one breathes in a calm state, allowing for conscious mimicry during stressful times.

Maintaining clean sleeping environments is essential for uninterrupted breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea, characterized by interrupted breathing patterns during sleep, can negatively impact sleep quality and overall health. Allergen sensitivity can also contribute to blocked airways. Keeping bedding clean, using anti-allergy pillows, and managing allergies can help improve breathing and sleep quality.

Breathing apps, such as iBreathe and Breathwrk, provide guided breathwork sessions tailored to specific needs and areas of life. These apps can help individuals design their own breathing exercises for relaxation, sleep, and energy. Additionally, smartwatch settings, like the Meditation app on the Apple Watch, offer real-time feedback on breathing and heart rate.

Breathing exercises can be beneficial in various situations. For panic or anxiety relief, the 4-7-8 technique can be effective. This involves finding a comfortable position and inhaling deeply for a count of 4, holding the breath for 7, and exhaling slowly for 8.

Breathing techniques offer a simple and accessible way to improve overall well-being. By paying attention to our breath and consciously adjusting our breathing patterns, we can reduce stress, enhance sleep quality, and increase focus in our daily lives.

– Source 1 (Stefanie Broes, co-founder of Moonbird)
– Source 2 (Dr. Paras Patel, Chief Scientific Officer at The Zensory)
– Source 3 (Miranda Bailey, co-founder of The Breath Connection)
– Source 4 (Jess Parkinson, breathwork coach)
– Source 5 (Laura Pearce, founder of Yoga Collective London)
– Source 6 (The Sleep Charity)
– Source 7 (Nevsah Fidan Karamehmet, breath expert and founder of Breath Hub)

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