October 05, 2021, Publisher: Breath Hub
Various scientific research on breathwork shows how much breathing practices contribute to a healthy and fit life. It’s worth mentioning that breathwork has been scientifically proven to improve not only our physical health but also our psychological wellbeing. So, on this World Mental Health Day, 10 October, we want to focus on how breathwork can help strengthen our mental health – which is just as important as our physical health, if not more.
Here are the 5 scientifically proven psychological and mental benefits of breathwork.
There is a lot of scientific research pointing to breathing practices as an effective method against stress, which is considered the cause of many illnesses. Slow and deep breathing exercises lower our levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and decreases the dominance of the sympathetic nervous system responsible for the stress response. This helps us become physically, mentally, and spiritually strong and healthy.
Neuroscience explains that we can trigger the parasympathetic activity, the ‘rest mode’ of the autonomic nervous system, by controlling how we breathe. Such a shift in gear helps us improve physically, mentally and psychologically, making it easier to combat anxiety disorders. You can use slow and deep breathing to relieve stress and anxiety and become more at peace.
Emotions like anger, sadness, guilt, disappointment and burnout tell us that something is amiss in our bodies. Controlling these intense emotions and allowing them to wash over us can sometimes prove to be difficult. At times like this, holding onto negative emotions can disturb our balance, both psychologically and physically.
Studies on psychology suggest that breathing exercises can alleviate negative emotions and restore emotional balance. According to a 2017 article published in Frontiers in Psychology, controlling your breathing by counting your breaths affects the ‘neural discharge’ in areas of the brain related to emotions. And this promotes a calmer and more emotionally balanced mood. So, if you are struggling with negative emotions, you can become balanced more easily with exercises where you count the duration of your breaths.
Depressive disorder is a severe condition that takes a toll on our emotions, thoughts, sleep patterns, behaviours and more. Depression is very commonly seen nowadays and can lead to various emotional and physical symptoms, disrupting our personal, social and professional lives.
Scientists believe that breathwork can alleviate symptoms of depression and improve a person’s quality of life. Experts think slow breathing practices increase the interaction between your brain and your body and trigger psychophysiological effects. At the same time, slow breathing exercises regulate the central nervous system, improve heart rate variability, and help relieve symptoms of depression by providing increased comfort, relaxation, freshness, and alertness. Give a chance to slow breathing techniques to alleviate symptoms of depression.
Just like our tissues and organs, our brain requires oxygen to run and spends around 20 per cent of the oxygen that our body needs. Not receiving the optimal amount of oxygen disrupts brain functions, leading to brain fog, loss of focus and nervousness.
Recent studies on people with attention disorders have proved that breathing exercises make it easier to focus. This is because breathwork increases the level of oxygen our brain receives. As a result, our mind becomes clearer, and we can concentrate better. If you want to improve your concentration, breathing practices will help you achieve that.
A strong memory is an important trait that takes us one step further socially, professionally and academically. While some of us are born with a strong memory, it can be hard to memorise or remember things for the rest of us. Breathing exercises can help you improve your memory.
In 2016, an article published in the Journal of Neuroscience concluded that rhythmic nasal breathing produces electrical activity in our brains that allows us to remember things better. Researchers think that rhythmic breathing leads to increased activity in the hippocampus, which is the brain’s memory centre. For better memory, you can also try rhythmic nasal breathing.
You can also improve your psychological and mental health with the help of hundreds of guided breathing sessions on Breath Hub and create the change you need in your life. How about beginning your breathing journey today?