The Science Behind Belly Breathing
At 11am today, schools across England will be taking part in half an hour of mindfulness, to manage stress and to kick start Mental Health Awareness Week which takes place from Monday 13th May to Sunday 19th May 2019.
Have you read our previous blog on stress?
We at KMA think this is a fantastic practice for students in managing anxiety and stress. As part of the services we provide we encourage breathing techniques to help relax when feeling overwhelmed. The way you breathe affects your whole body, but most people don’t know how to breathe properly.
One of the simplest yet most effective is ‘belly breathing’: –
Sit or lie in a comfortable position
Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest
Take a deep breathe in through your nose and let your belly push your hand out
Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling
Do these 3 or 10 times and take your time
Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise
The Science Behind This
The science behind this is simple. Your body is constantly trying to maintain equilibrium. When you inhale blood is drawn from your heart into the vasculature of your lungs. This creates a relative deficit of blood for the rest of your body. Your heart compensates by increasing the heart rate and pushing more blood to your body.
When you exhale, blood returns to your body from your lungs and the heart slows back down. This increase in heart rate during inhalation and decrease during exhalation is known as respiratory sinus arrhythmia.
For more information on breathing read our previous blog post.
‘Take A Deep Breath’
So next time someone tells you to ‘take a deep breath’ you will now know the real science behind it.