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Keep calm and breathe

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Did you know that an average person breathes in and out more than 23,000 times a day?

Breath is essential to life. It is the first thing we do when we are born and the last thing we do when we leave. In between that time, we take about half a billion breaths. 

All in all breathing is a vital part of our everyday life, and we tend to underestimate the effects it can have on our mind and body. Hence, learning to breath properly (or controlling your breath in certain situations) can help restore balance in your body, and positively impact your overall wellbeing. 

Research has shown that doing simple regular deep breathing exercises can help: 

- increase energy levels

- lower blood pressure

- relax the muscles

- reduce stress

- reduce anxiety and depression

Many of the health benefits come from reducing the stress response in the body. In moments of stress, frustration or anxiety, your breath tends to become fast and shallow, coming from your chest, whilst your body produces a surge of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, increasing blood pressure and putting you in a state of high alert. 

With deep breathing you can reverse all the symptoms mentioned above instantly. Deep steady breaths will help restore the feeling of calm in your mind and body, whilst increased volumes of oxygen will reach the body's cells and tissues more efficiently. 

Once you consciously start taking a moment every day to take deep breath, you will not only notice the benefits of it for your stress levels, but you will also start noticing that your skin is looking fresher and less tired-looking. Often when we lead stressful lives accompanied by shallow short breaths our skin cells don't get enough of oxygen to function properly, leading to a build up of toxins, in turn resulting in premature ageing of the skin, fine lines and wrinkles, flareups and etc. 

We've gathered a few simple breathing techniques to introduce breathing practices into your daily routine. 

Just take a pause 

This is a simple technique you can do at your desk.

- Take a moment and turn away from any distractions, such as phones and computers.

- Close your eyes and put your hand on your belly.

- Take a deep breath in right from the bottom of your stomach.

- Don't force the breath out, let it naturally leave your body.

- Direct your thoughts to your breath and how it travels through your body. 

- Take 3 more deep breathes.  

The seven-eleven breathing exercise

This technique is particularly useful when you are feeling anxious or stressed. 

- Breathe in for a count of seven.  

- Breathe out for a count of eleven.

You need to consciously make an effort to take a deep breathe from the diaphragm or the belly area.

Healthy distraction 

If you have a chance, take a moment to go outside during the day. Even 5 minutes breathing fresh air can help you calm your mind and put your thoughts in perspective. 

2-minute relaxation

This is also a good practice to do throughout the day, whether you're in a busy commute or during lunch break. 

- Close your eyes and focus your attention on the breathing. Take a few deep breaths and exhale slowly.

- Mentally scan your body and notice any areas that feel tense. Direct your attention to them and mentally loosen those areas. 

- Slowly rotate your head in a circular motion a couple of times. 

- Roll your shoulders backwards and forwards, let all your muscles relax. 

- Recall a pleasant space or event.

- Take a couple of more deep breathes and exhale slowly. 

 Now keep calm and breathe! :) 


Special thanks for inspirational credits to: The Chopra Center, The Telegraph, Wellbeing At the Bar, Taking Charge of your Health & Wellbeing, ABC, The Independent   

Hannah de Gruchy BSc(Hons)

About Author

Hannah de Gruchy is a freelancer writer who specialises in health and wellness. She has a keen interest in the biology of skin and loves using her words to help separate the real science of skincare from the pseudoscience of some skincare brands. Hannah has a degree in Human Biology and many years’ experience working in laboratories around London. Using this experience, Hannah enjoys turning complex science into interesting, engaging and easy to digest pieces to read. In her spare time, Hannah runs, practices yoga and loves cooking plant based foods.

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