Breathing sounds like the simplest thing in the world, doesn’t it? After all, we are born with the natural ability to breathe, and it isn’t until we die that we ever stop doing it. In fact… It is so natural that most people don’t think about the way they breathe or how breathing exercises can cure a myriad of issues. Read on if you want to learn how to improve your wellbeing through breathing. Stress Stress is something that most people suffer from at some point in their lives. If your boss is giving you a hard time, you are late for your train, or your kids won’t stop screaming, you have probably experienced it. You may even feel stressed several times per day. Stress is not good for you because it raises your heart rate, makes it difficult to control your emotions, and can weaken your immune system. When you feel stressed, it is natural to want to take a lot of breaths, and these tend to be shallow as your body wants to breathe quickly. This is your body’s way of trying to pump more oxygen around the body as it goes into “fight or flight” mode. It knows it is expected to do something, it just isn’t sure what and it gets it wrong. Shallow fast breathing increases your heart rate and makes you feel more stressed. To relieve the tension, you need to fill your lungs and you can do this by taking long, deep breaths that will help to pump more oxygen around the body. Next time you feel stressed, concentrate on your breathing and you could be surprised at how quickly you can start to feel calm. Anxiety Anxiety is caused by too much worrying about a situation, and it often gives you a lot of nervous energy that means that you can’t get a lot else done as you are all fingers and thumbs, and your mind is crowded. If this is an issue for you, then try some cardiovascular exercise. Running, swimming, and cycling are all good exercises. The aim is to raise your heart rate and get slightly out of breath. To get enough air into your lungs, your body will naturally take deeper breaths, which in turn will help to ease your anxiety. A bonus is that you will be so busy concentrating on your workout that your mind won’t have room to think about anything else, which will bring you peace and stop you from feeling anxious. Depression When you are depressed, it can be hard to look forward or take the next steps to achieve your goals. Breathing exercises can make you feel more grounded and focussed and alleviate your symptoms. If you can’t face going for a run, then go for a walk instead. Practice deep breathing as you focus on the world around you and the wildlife you will see, and breathe in some fresh air. Breathing deeply as you walk around the park will allow you time to reflect and plan. Alternate breathing can work well for depression too. Cover one nostril as you walk and breathe through the other. Repeat this five times and then switch nostrils. This will help you to feel balanced and give you energy. Sleep Problems If you are suffering from sleep problems, it can have a dramatic effect on your wellbeing. Not only do you feel more tired the next day, but you are also more likely to make mistakes at work, which will affect your confidence. There is also evidence to suggest that it can hinder your driving ability and make it more likely that you will have an accident. You will function so much better on a good night’s sleep. If you suffer from sleep apnea or snoring, then mewing is a good exercise to try. You’ll need to move your tongue around and practice a bit before you will get the hang of this technique, but you will soon find that your breathing issues have been overcome and you can get a good night’s sleep. Many people suffer from insomnia and usually, this is related to anxiety or stress. Lying awake worrying about what you will have to do the next day is no fun, and things always look worse in the small hours anyway. A breathing technique that will help you a lot is called mindful meditation. Lay with your eyes closed and concentrate on breathing in and out. Clear your mind and think of nothing except your breathing. You will soon find that you can relax enough to get back to sleep. Breathing exercises are an incredibly useful way of improving your well-being. They can lift your mood and alleviate issues. Try some for yourself to see how much difference they can make.