Breathing: One of the most undervalued…

One of the most undervalued self-help and wellness techniques in our arsenal is breathing exercises. Breathing is such an involuntary action, many of us go about our day not even giving it a second thought. For me, coming to understand just how important the breath is in my overall well-being came about during the spiritual experience I had in 2015.

I had just began

I was sitting on my bed one day, and I had just began, for the first time in my life, to practice meditation. This was also the period of time that I was doing some serious introspective writing. Clearing away all the resentments and trash that I was buried under. Anyways as I sat there, I started taking really deep breaths. I mean really deep, cleansing type breaths that seemed involuntary. It was as if my spirit was telling my body, “We HAVE to do this.” It was probably ten inhales and exhales, but I tell you, the effect that it had on me was profound.

Breathing improves cognitive function

“Today, studies show that breathing exercises can actually improve cognitive function, encourage positive thought processes, and reduce symptoms of anxiety.

…neurological link

In a 2018 study from Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience and the Global Brain Health Institute at Trinity, it was shown that there is a neurological link between respiration and focus. The study showed that those who incorporated intentional and consistent breathing exercises affected the levels of noradrenaline in their brain, which is a natural chemical messenger released when we are challenged, focused, or emotionally aroused. When we are stressed, we produce too much, and when we are sluggish, we produce too little; those who practiced daily breathing techniques produced the sweet spot of noradrenaline and showed exceptional ability to focus.

Improve symptoms of depression

What’s more, breathing exercises for anxiety have been shown to improve symptoms of depression in addition to reducing the symptoms of anxiety. Many people have unintentionally become shallow breathers, which is a mindless breathing pattern where you inhale through the mouth, hold the breath, and take in less air. Long-term shallow breathing can actually keep the body in a cycle of stress, affecting everything from mental to physical health and even susceptibility to illness. While we shouldn’t stay in a prolonged state of controlled breath, starting the practice for a few moments per day can make you more conscious of your habits outside of the exercise” (headspace).

Helpful in a number of ways

As you can see, mindful breathing and practicing breathing techniques can be helpful in a number of ways. It can even help us lower our heart rate and aiding in stress and anxiety management as the article states. That is a big deal. Simply being mindful of breath can even help us focus! It’s interesting because, so often you hear someone say, ‘Hey, just take a deep breath.” We hear it all the time, yet just like the way we just breathe without much thought, it’s just a passing phrase. Now when someone says it, we may actually take deep breath or two… And guess what. It works!

Something so simple

Something so simple, yet evades us a primary way to deal with stressors, anxiety, or frustration. I will do another post detailing some of the more simple breathing techniques that work, but it’s definitely something that is personal. If the information shared in this post hits you as something that may be helpful, may I suggest doing a little research into some simple breathing techniques, what works, and feels right for you. In the meantime, here is a link to a video to start you on your way!


headspace. Breathing exercises to reduce stress. Accessed 26 August, 2020.

Author's Bio: 

Eric Thompson, self-help & wellness blogger @

I am currently a student at Long Beach City College working towards a degree in Counseling. Attached is a link to my “about me” section.


Checkout my latest post!