Why slow breathing is the best 2022 New Year's resolution

December 29th, 2021,

5 min read

Why slow breathing is the best 2022 New Year's resolutionfeatured image

Breathing has not always received the respect it deserves. Fact, we've always known that breathing keeps us alive. We breathe automatically, up to 20,000 times a day on average, and generally, it's not something we need to think about.

However, thinking about your breath more often is a smart move. You can make a resolution to exercise daily in the new year, to banish all snacks and alcohol from your home, and to wipe the dust off your meditation cushion. And yes, that is all beneficial. However, this only makes sense if you also pay attention to your breathing pattern. Why is this the case?

Our mental health is under pressure

We live in a world full of challenges, that’s for sure. More and more people are struggling with stress-related conditions such as chronic stress, insomnia, panic attacks, or burnout. Covid-19 has taken it even further: the number of people with anxiety and depression has increased by 25 percent since the start of the pandemic.[1] And meanwhile, waiting lists for professional help are only getting longer.[2]

We have more control over our mental and physical health than we often think

More support is needed. From our environment, but also from ourselves. In today's unpredictable reality, self-care is more important than ever. Fortunately, we have more control over our mental and physical health than is commonly believed.

The impact of slower breathing: a brake on your buzzing mind

Breathing is a biological function that is directly linked to our well-being, even though we do not always think about it. Most of us breathe too quickly, often as a result of stress, illness, or traumatic events in our lives. Rapid breathing has a direct impact on our physical, emotional, and mental condition, and can lead to all kinds of conditions, such as insomnia, anxiety and panic attacks, fatigue, or even depression.

Slow breathing helps to immediately take the sharp edge off our day, serving as a remote control on your nervous system

The good news is that breathing is a mechanism that we can actively control ourselves. By breathing more slowly, we can activate the relaxation and recovery response in our body, making us more relaxed, calm, or sleepy. Slow breathing helps to immediately take the sharp edge off our day, serving as a remote control on your nervous system. And that's something we can all use.

The benefits of slow breathing: less stress and anxiety, more relaxation and sleep

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Slow, calming breathing exercises are easy to practice and come with many benefits for your health and overall well-being. The three most important benefits?

Slow down your breathing and expierence less stress and anxiety, more relaxation and better sleep

1. Slower breathing, less stress

Researchers found that just ten minutes of slow breathing makes you 15% more relaxed.[3] Slow breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for rest and recovery in our body. In our busy, 'always on' world, this ‘brake’ is desperately needed. No wonder the NHS and Harvard Medical School advise breathing exercises as an effective tool for stress relief.

2. Breathing is the best sleeping medicine

Slow breathing before bedtime is golden. Do it for 20 minutes and studies show you’ll fall asleep 15 minutes sooner than usual and will wake up only half as many times.[4] Breathing slowly relaxes both your body and your mind. Your sleep will improve, so you can wake up well-rested.

3. Curb your anxiety

Anxiety disorder is the most common mental health challenge, estimated to affect 31% of all adults at some point in their lives[5]. Scientists report that practicing breathing exercises 3 times a day for 3 days, will help your anxiety go down by 20%.[6] They consider breathing a go-to treatment for all kinds of emotional issues.

Relaxation at your fingertips, anytime, anywhere

Moonbird has been developed to guide you in doing slow breathing exercises, in an easy and intuitive way. Moonbird brings serious relaxation and better sleep within reach for everyone.

What will your New Year's resolution for 2022 be? Whoever you are, whatever you do, at least don't forget to breathe (slowly) 🙏

Sources: [1] The Lancet [2] VRT [3] Seppälä EM. et al. Promoting Mental Health and Psychological Thriving in University Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Three Well-Being Interventions. Front Psychiatry. 2020 | Goldstein MR, et al.. Improvements in well-being and cardiac metrics of stress following a yogic breathing workshop: Randomized controlled trial with active comparison. J Am Coll Health J ACH. 2020 | Perciavalle V, et al. The role of deep breathing on stress. Neurol Sci Off J Ital Neurol Soc Ital Soc Clin Neurophysiol. 2017. [4] Tsai HJ, et al. Efficacy of paced breathing for insomnia: enhances vagal activity and improves sleep quality. Psychophysiology. 2015 | de Zambotti M, et al. Reducing bedtime physiological arousal levels using immersive audio-visual respiratory bio-feedback: a pilot study in women with insomnia symptoms. J Behav Med. 2019 | Chien H-C, et al. Breathing exercise combined with cognitive-behavioral intervention improves sleep quality and heart rate variability in major depression. J Clin Nurs. 2015. [5] National Institute of Mental Health [6] Jerath R, et al. Self-regulation of breathing as a primary treatment for anxiety. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2015 | Novaes MM, et al. Effects of Yoga Respiratory Practice (Bhastrika pranayama) on Anxiety, Affect, and Brain Functional Connectivity and Activity: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Front Psychiatry. 2020 | Chen Y-F, et al. The Effectiveness of Diaphragmatic Breathing Relaxation Training for Reducing Anxiety. Perspect Psychiatr Care. 2017.

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