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Breathe In. Breathe Out. Let Go: Breathwork for Mind-Body Health and Well-Being

Breathe In. Breathe Out. Let Go: Breathwork for Mind-Body Health and Well-Being

When was the last time you paused and focused on breathing? Life races, from task to task, with little time to rest and recharge. This could lead to high stress, anxiety, and burnout, making it difficult to enjoy life and pursue goals. Therefore, having practices to recenter and decrease stress is essential. One simple yet effective practice is breathwork. By focusing attention on the breath, we train our minds to be more present, which boosts productivity, creativity, relaxation, and overall well-being.

Breathwork covers various techniques that focus on breath awareness to improve physical, mental, and emotional health. One review of breathwork literature reveals that deep or controlled breathing exercises can significantly reduce anxiety (Banushi et al., 2023). Breathwork also cultivates a more profound sense of mindfulness and awareness. It can be particularly beneficial in improving focus and concentration, reducing feelings of tension and worry, and promoting restful sleep.

Participants report significant stress level reduction after engaging in breathwork practices greater than those who did not engage in breathwork (Fincham et al., 2023). Left unregulated, stress can contribute to adverse health effects such as high blood pressure, inflammation, and weakened immune function. Practicing breathwork activates the body’s relaxation response, which counteracts the stress response and promotes healing and recovery. 

Here are two examples of many types of breathwork techniques that are available. Each method offers its unique benefits. Experiment to find the ones that work best for you.

  • Box Breathing: Inhale for a count of four, hold the breath for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, and hold the breath for a count of four before repeating the cycle.
  • 4-7-8 Breathing: 4-7-8 breathwork involves inhaling for a count of four, holding the breath for a count of seven, and exhaling for a count of eight. Repeat the sequence. 

Breathwork is an easy, readily available, and powerful tool for total well-being. Taking a few minutes daily to focus on your breath cultivates a greater sense of clarity, calm, and wellness. Try combining breathwork with your other self-care practices for a holistic approach that supports physical, mental, and spiritual health.

#totalwellbeing

See Also

#MyJam- Check out Zee Clark’s book Black People Breathe:A Mindfulness Guide to Racial Healing

References

Banushi, B., Brendle, M., Ragnhildstveit, A., Murphy, T., Moore, C., Egberts, J., & Robison, R. (2023). Breathwork Interventions for Adults with Clinically Diagnosed Anxiety Disorders: A Scoping Review. Brain Sciences, 13(2), 256. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13020256
Fincham, G. W., Strauss, C., Montero-Marin, J., & Cavanagh, K. (2023). Effect of breathwork on stress and mental health: A meta-analysis of randomised-controlled trials. Scientific Reports, 13(1), 432. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-27247-y

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