What is mindful breathing?

What is mindful breathing?

Mindful Breathing

“Breathe!” they say. “Take a deep breath, and you’ll be fine.”

We all know the simple act of breathing can have a positive effect on us; it’s clear from the language we use. Most of the time, we are breathing shallow breaths through our nose or mouth.

This is normal breathing.

Mindful breathing is paying attention to the sensation of the breath coming in and out of the body. This means noticing the breath, how and where you feel it in the body without trying to change it.

Mindful breathing is a deep breathing exercise. Deep breathing uses big breaths and controls the length. This is to achieve a desired outcome, like falling asleep or reaching a state of relaxation while in meditation or hypnosis.

Mindful breathing teaches core mindfulness. Using meditation techniques like mindful breathing can result in a number of proven health benefits.

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Mindful breathing benefits

Mindfulness meditation practice offers multiple benefits to those who practice it, such as:

  • Pain relief
  • Increased compassion and more positive emotions
  • Improved cognitive functions like memory, attention, and focus
  • Improved sleep
  • Improved brain health

You can follow this breathing practice virtually anywhere. Even if you just need to take a minute to practice breath meditation at your desk, you can.

Why does mindful breathing work?

When we place our attention on our breath, our focus detracts from areas of pain. We detach from worrisome stories we tell ourselves that we associate with that pain.

We become present and not thinking about the future or the past. We learn how to observe the pain as a result of training ourselves to pay attention.

This is mindfulness — to see and not react, to notice the qualities. And to do so as an observer.

Often, detaching from the emotion of pain reduces the sensation of discomfort.

Some studies have proven the effectiveness of mindful breathing on pain relief. In 2016, Zeidan and Vago found mindful breathing to reduce self-reported pain scores. This may help people to rely less on medication.

Evidence shows increased time spent practicing mindful breathing results in reduced stress.


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