At one time or another, we’ve all either been told to “take a deep breath,” or we’ve said to someone else, “I need to step outside and take a breath.” Is this just a saying? A signifier that we need a break in the conversation or a quick time-out? Or is there something more to it? Can stepping out to take a breath change anything? Turns out, yes, it can. Here’s how.
Taking a Breath Decreases Stress
You might want to heed that suggestion to “take a breath” when you’re in the middle of a hectic situation and can’t seem to get yourself settled. Deep breathing releases endorphins, which are neurotransmitters in the brain that lead to increased feelings of euphoria and decreased feelings of stress.
So if you’re in the middle of a crazy day and you think it’s going to get the best of you, take a breath. You’ll send a signal to your brain that everything will be okay.
You Can Get Through That Afternoon Slump
Are you ever sitting at your desk around 3 pm, tired, frustrated, and unsure how you’re going to get through the rest of the day? We’ve been there. It’s a scientific phenomenon because your body’s energy naturally depletes within seven hours of waking up. Add that to the fact that most of us sit for the majority of the day. Our blood flow isn’t at its absolute best.
When you feel that afternoon slump coming on, skip that extra cup of coffee and take a breath. Deep breaths improve blood flow, which leads to increased energy levels.
Feeling Tense? Take a Breath
Have you been carrying the weight of your day around with you? You get home from work and can’t seem to unwind? Your shoulders feel tense, your neck feels stiff, and you don’t want to talk. Maybe your significant other or your children come right up to you, and you don’t think you can handle it at the moment. Take a breath.
When you’re experiencing tension, your muscles constrict, you may notice your neck and your head hurt, and your jaw might be clenched. When you take a deep breath, more oxygen is delivered to your muscles and brain, easing tension and calming your mind. You’ll be ready to tackle anything.
Step Outside to Take That Breath
There’s science behind the breath, and then there’s science behind stepping outside to take that breath. We already know the physical benefits of taking a breath to calm our minds and optimize blood flow and oxygen levels in our body, but it’s also been shown that taking a deep breath of fresh air can make us happier, too.
Spending time outdoors has been linked to decreased rates of depression and a better overall sense of well-being. So step outside and take that big, deep breath you need.
A Note from GR8NESS
We’ve all been there. Someone tells us to “calm down and take a deep breath,” and it upsets us even more. Research shows, though, that taking that second to pause and breathe can have physical benefits in addition to providing a moment to regroup. It turns out that “take a deep breath,” might be the friendly reminder we need after all.