How Proper Breathing Can Improve Your Health and Help You Through the Holidays
Are you feeling tired and overwhelmed because of the upcoming holidays? One of the best things you can do for yourself, your health, and your peace of mind is to not only plan healthy activities and healthy meals during the holiday season but to make a plan for healthy breathing. First, plan some “you time” throughout your day. You are probably thinking, “I don’t have a minute to spare. I have so much to do.” However, that’s absolutely the wrong way to think about “surviving” the holidays. Incorporating healthy breathing into your regular responsibilities and routines can be an easy fix to the holiday stress you may be feeling. You can incorporate deep breathing into your shopping or organizing or cooking for the holidays.
How you feel, both your emotional and physical health, are essential to accomplishing your daily goals and how you breathe has a direct impact on how you feel. Proper breathing improves how you feel and allows you to adapt more easily to change and hectic times.
Taking a short break allows you to breathe so you can truly enjoy the holidays. As you move forward with plans to visit family and friends, taking time to relax and breathe will ultimately allow you to truly enjoy the company of others. Plan an early morning walk on the beach or through your neighborhood. If your mornings are full, try to fit in a late afternoon or evening yoga class along with your regular fitness regimen. If you don’t have time to take a walk or a class, then practice breathing where ever you are. Simply set a schedule and fit breathing into your routine.
We often get caught up in a whirlwind of activities and actually start to use shallow breathing which is detrimental to our health. Shallow breathing is when we don’t completely fill our lungs with air. Shallow breathing causes dry mouth, aggravates respiratory issues, causes fatigue, decreases mental clarity, and increases the risk of cardiovascular problems. It also leads to anxiety attacks, tension, and feelings of panic.
Your ultimate goal is to make focused breathing, or mindful breathing, a regular part of your life. Focusing on your breathing, has positive health benefits. Many people call this type of breathing mindful breathing because you have to be present and mindful of what you are doing. Studies show mindful breathing helps reduce stress, anxiety, and even pain. Mindful breathing improves mental clarity and lowers blood pressure. Energy levels and sleep quality are improved. Reduced stress levels create better emotional stability. Feelings of enjoyment and contentment increase which reduce anxiety. This allows your body to reduce its production of the stress hormone, cortisol. Reducing the cortisol in your body equals a better mood, increased fertility, a lower risk of a heart attack, and better digestion.
An improved mood and higher energy levels may help you stick with a healthy diet as you won’t be stress eating. Increased energy levels, an improved mood and outlook are likely to help increase the production of endorphins in your body because you will feel more like participating in holiday activities. Endorphins are the “feel good” hormones our body produces as rewards for being active.
There are a variety of techniques used in mindful or focused breathing. You may want to try them all and either use a variety of techniques or stick with a particular technique that you like. No technique is best; what’s important is to practice regularly.One technique is Pranayama or control of breath. It is done in certain types of yoga and is made up of different sets of breathing exercises, including both fast and slow-paced breathing and alternate nostril breathing. Because the practice of pranayama involves a few different breathing exercises, many find following an instructor to be the easiest way to get started.
Another technique is diaphragmatic breathing which involves the diaphragm, the small muscle below your lungs. Begin with one hand over your heart and the other on your stomach. Breathe in through your nose and make your stomach rise as it fills with air. Draw your naval in toward your spine as you exhale. Repeat three to five times.
Another common breathing exercise is 4-7-8 breathing. Breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale for eight seconds. Place your hands as you would in diaphragm breathing. Feel your diaphragm slide down as the lungs fill completely. Exhale for eight seconds as the lungs completely empty. Repeat three to five times.
There are many apps on your phone and computer which are available for practicing types of breathing exercises. Using one or more of these apps may help you get started. Breathing exercises help you stay active as they increase your oxygen levels. Improved oxygen levels make it easier to participate in athletic activities which strengthen your heart and help build muscle while losing fat. An added health benefit is that you might be enjoying some of these activities in the fresh air and in the sunshine thus boosting your body’s absorption of vitamin D. Breathing exercises help reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Make the incorporation of breathing techniques into your wellness plan a present to yourself this holiday season.
How Can Androgenix Help?
If you want to live your best life, the medical practitioners at Androgenix are here to help. If you have any questions about deficiencies due to diet, stress, or life situations, please contact us with your questions. If you are concerned about how to ensure you are giving your body what it needs to be at its best or have any other concerns about any areas of your health, please contact our office and make an appointment with our staff. Our staff of caring healthcare practitioners are here to answer your questions and develop an appropriate treatment plan for you. You will be monitored by our team for treatment effectiveness and side effects of any recommended treatment on a regular basis. Our team at Androgenix is always here to support your journey to a better, healthier, and happier you.
*Unless otherwise stated, individual results may vary depending on many factors not all patients “feel” or achieve the same results.