The Simple 5 Minute Breathing Exercise That Will Make You Happy (It’s Even Better Than Meditation!)

The Simple 5-Minute Breathing Exercise That Will Make You Happy (And It’s Even Better Than Mindfulness!)

  • Participants practiced one of three daily breathing exercises for five minutes
  • Their moods were measured using the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule
  • Hyperventilation cyclic breathing exercises saw the largest increase in positivity

From HIIT to shaking off in a dance class, exercise has long been known to do wonders for the mind.

But researchers have now discovered another way to boost your mood — through deep breathing exercises.

And they might even be better than mindfulness, which the NHS already has been shown to help us “enjoy life more.”

Experts from Stanford University found that people who did deep breathing exercises for five minutes every day for a month improved their anxious feelings and improved their mood than those who just meditated.

A group of researchers at Stanford University in the US found that doing simple breathing exercises for just five minutes each day can improve your mood more than mindfulness meditation

A group of researchers at Stanford University in the US found that doing simple breathing exercises for just five minutes each day can improve your mood more than mindfulness meditation

The experiment asked 108 participants to practice one of three breathing exercises or mindfulness meditation for 5 minutes a day at home, at a time that suited them best.

The first exercise – cyclic sighing – was performed by 30 people. They had to inhale slowly before taking another shorter breath to fully inflate their lungs and then exhaling for as long as possible.

About 21 participants tried box breathing instead. That meant: Inhale, hold your breath, exhale and hold the exhaled breath again.

In the final exercise – cyclic hyperventilation – 33 people were asked to take deep breaths and 30 shorter breaths before exhaling fully.

Easy 5 minute breathing exercises

To reap the benefits of mindfulness, study participants tried three simple breathing exercises that were shown to help relax the body and mind and reduce stress.

Cyclic Sigh: Breathe in slowly before taking another shorter breath to fully inflate your lungs. Then exhale for as long as possible.

Ideally, you breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Box Breathing: Take four breaths before taking another deeper breath. Once your lungs are full, exhale through your nose or mouth as slowly as possible.

Cyclic hyperventilation: Take a deep breath and exhale 30 shorter breaths before fully exhaling.

After 30 breaths, exhale for 15 seconds to completely empty your lungs before beginning again.

The final 24 participants were enrolled in Moor Standard mindfulness. They did not practice specific breath control, instead observing their breathing to bring their attention to the present.

After a month, the participants filled out two questionnaires to assess the effects of the exercises on their anxiety levels.

The results were compared to two questionnaires, all of which they had completed prior to the 28-day study.

Researchers wrote in the journal Cell Reports Medicine that the effects were “noticeably higher” in the breathing work groups.

The NHS describes mindfulness as “paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings and to the world around you”.

Breathing exercises can be one type of practice that is adopted.

Anxiety is intense, excessive, and persistent concern and anxiety about everyday situations. It often leads to a rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, and fatigue.

According to mental health charity Mind, six per cent of people in the UK suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

An estimated 6.8 million adults in the US — or 3.1 percent of the population — also have GAD.

In response to the study’s findings, Stanford researcher Dr. Melis Yilmaz Balban: ‘Our understanding of the effects of breathing on the brain and body should allow the development of specific science-backed breathing practices to improve stress tolerance and sleep, increase energy, focus and creativity, and regulate emotional and cognitive states.’

Breathing practices that emphasize the exhalation over the inhalation of each breath are “more effective in reducing anxiety and improving well-being,” she added.

The researchers also assessed whether study participants noticed changes in their sleep patterns.

But after the Stanford University team looked at the number of hours they all slept, their sleep efficiency, and overall sleep score, they found no significant changes in either group.

In other health news…

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Now ANYONE over 18 can get statins! A major overhaul of NHS drug policies could result in doctors giving the cheap cholesterol-lowering pills to millions more Britons

Is YOUR area a scarlet fever hotspot? Cases of the disease caused by Strep A rose last year to their highest level since the 1950s, data shows – as the map shows the hardest-hit regions

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Bradford Betz

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