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Why is deep breathing good for us

Updated: Jul 8, 2023

Stress causes our breathing rate to increase, it gathers more oxygen to fuel our muscles for ‘fight or flight mode’. This is because our primitive brain is responding to a potential threat.

Today, we are generally free from wild predators, however we perceive "mental threats" throughout the day. For example, our breathing and heart rate rise when we sit exams, have our driving test or presenting in front of others. You can override your automatic response to breathe rapidly as deep breathing tells your body you aren’t in danger. This can help reduce anxiety and means your intellectual brain can get back its control.

Breathing deeply is therefore a stress reliever which has numerous benefits for the body and mind. It oxygenates our blood, relaxes our muscles and the calms the mind. You can do breathing exercises any time and any where. There are different types of breathing techniques to try. This is an example; 7-11 breathing means to breathe in for the count of 7 ideally through the nose and out for the count of 11 through your mouth. The out breath will be longer and when we exhale this helps reduce our sympathetic arousal which is our (fight or flight response) and calms the body down. You can also try breathing through a straw, as this naturally means the out breathe feels longer and you don't need to worry about counting. I encourage my clients to use deep breathing as part of my solution focused hypnotherapy. This can help protect them from stress - reducing anxiety and panic. This together with my therapy helps them relax by emptying their stress bucket and calming down their whole system.

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