Anecdotal and scientific evidence proves that breathing exercises are efficient in managing your stress and improving your mental health.
It may sound reductive to say that taking some focused and deep breaths can help you improve your mental health, but evidence continues to support these claims. Aside from being super easy to adopt, deep breathing techniques have been associated with muscle relaxation, reduced tension and stress relief. A new study says that the practice can also decrease the odds of having depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.
The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry, was conducted on college students, a subset of people known to lead highly stressful lifestyles. According to Yale researchers, people between the ages of 18 and 25 are the most susceptible to mental health illness. They also explain that the mental health of college students has been declining over the years, with more reports of anxiety, depression, and more.
The researchers analyzed more than 100 students who were placed in three different wellness programs. It found that breathing exercises, yoga posturing and positive psychology skills had the best impact out of all the wellness practices, which correlated to reduced depression, better stress management, better mental health and increased feelings of social connectedness.
While these results are exciting for college students, they add more credence to breathing techniques as one of the main ways of providing stress relief. These exercises, like belly breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, or even counted breaths, can be done at any time or place. Unlike popular beliefs, they don’t need to be paired with some form of meditation, yoga, pilates or other activity associated with wellness in order to provide effects and consistent change.
Breathing techniques can be adopted by anyone who’s interested. They can be included into whatever wellness routine you currently have; the only ask is that you allot a couple of minutes a day and some concentration in order to obtain positive results for your mental health.