And now you’re probably like “great, another thing in my life I’m doing wrong.”
The good news? Unlike your other untold grievances, this one is pretty easy to fix.
The more doctors explore breathing as a form of illness prevention and therapy, the more they turn up evidence of its importance.
A 2015 study found that six months of breath training led to improvements in mental flexibility and cognitive function. A 2005 study found that two minutes of slow, controlled breathing led to a significant drop in blood pressure. And there is a bulk of research highlighting breath exercises’ ability to combat anxiety, depression, and stress.
So do all those cliche “just breath” posters actually hold the secret to a better life?
Kind of. But, the focus and importance is on how we breathe.
Breathing is the only physiological function that is under our control, and slowing our breath has profound and immediate effects on our body.
A proper breath starts with gradual inhalation — think slow and steady — into the belly, followed by a gradual and complete exhale.
Emphasis on the complete exhale. Emptying our lungs has been shown to stimulate the vagus nerve. If you don’t know what this is, click the link, or just trust us…
While a single breath this way can be helpful, research shows that a breathing rate of around 5 breaths per minute for a sustained period of time (depending on your comfort level) is the sweet spot.
You might sense a theme here 😉 but just like anything important, breathing takes practice. Spending time each day, even just a few minutes, will allow you to train yourself in adopting a proper breathing technique.