5 Breathing Techniques to Improve Your Overall Mental Health
For decades the term “time is money” has been ingrained into the minds of nearly every American man, woman and child. This has been, is and may continue to be what anyone looking to make it in an economy like this is made to believe (or so we’re told). If that in fact is true, then happiness is portrayed as only attainable through monetary gain. These two driving ideas are what lead so many adults to work intense hours weekly with little wiggle room for much else. Jobs, marriage, kids and then their extracurricular activities seemingly provide the distraction needed in consuming a large portion of the 24 hours that make up our days and nights. So if time is money and happiness can be “bought," where does that leave relaxation, where does that leave the capacity for mental growth or health? It leaves it nonexistent. Even with a busy schedule, it may be difficult but not impossible to indulge in relaxation while improving your mental health in the process.
An effective method in relaxing involves breathing. Partaking in deep breathing techniques has been proven to prevent the production of stress- producing hormones, also known as epinephrine and cortisol. These techniques also help to detox the body by increasing the oxygen intake, allowing necessary vitamins and nutrients to be better absorbed into the body. When exhaling during these techniques, the toxins are removed from the circulation of the blood. The results of the toxins leaving the body is re-energization of the organs. Other benefits include reduction in anxiety, insomnia and depression.
The 4 x 8 Breath
Close your eyes or focus on an object that isn’t moving. Inhale and count to 4. Briefly hold that breath before exhaling to the count of 8. Repeat the inhale/exhale pattern at least 4 times. After using this technique, you should feel calming effects on your mind, body and emotions.
What are the benefits: Practicing this technique daily has shown signs of lessening symptoms associated with anxiety and insomnia, helps regulate emotions and keep the brain sharp.
Resonant breathing is when your breath rate consists of 5 full breaths per minute. In order to do this, inhale until you reach a count of 5, then exhale to a count of 5. Repeat this breathing pattern for a few minutes.
What are the benefits: Using this breathing method maximizes your heart rate variability(HRV) which is the time interval between each heartbeat. This increase can reduce stress and even reduce symptoms of depression.
Start the exercise in a seated position. Shut your eyes and relax your body. Inhale deeply and only through the nose. Hold the breath for a second and then exhale slowly through the mouth in a controlled manner making a deep, steady humming sound.
What are the benefits: This method relieves stress and cerebral tension. By relieving the cerebral tension, it helps to alleviate anger, anxiety and insomnia. It creates a soothing effect on the mind and nervous system, allowing for the body to reach a deeper natural state of calm.
The 4-7-8 Technique
To begin this breathing exercise, start by placing the tip of your tongue where your teeth and gums meet. Exhale completely through your mouth, disregard the awkward feeling of the breath passing through each side of your tongue. Then close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose until you reach a count of four, hold your breath until you reach a count of seven then exhale completely through your mouth again until you reach a count of eight. Inhale once again through the nose and then repeat this cycle three times.
What are the benefits: This technique has been proven to help achieve a relaxed state of mind and relieve stress physically and mentally. This method is also largely advocated by well known doctor, Andrew Thomas Weil.
To complete this exercise, inhale deeply to the count of five, hold your breath for 10 and then breath out for another five counts. With each round you complete, increase the intervals by five seconds each, then repeat this cycle three to four times.
What are the benefits: It helps to detoxify the body, putting the body and mind into a natural state of calm and helps improve posture over time.
Though the breathing techniques we've listed are five of the more effective practices, we encourage you to continue to discover new methods each day. Everyone deserves peace, happiness and serenity. We and many just like you have also found clean CBD products to benefit the mind as well as the body.