Conscious breathing exercises have become increasingly important in recovery from Depression and Anxiety.
The environmental pollution, stressful life experiences, increased pace of life, financial problems, poor eating habits, and sedentary lifestyle has increased stress levels and depression.
By maintaining acid-base balance
We typically breathe too rapidly when we are in stress, resulting in oxygen build up in blood and corresponding reduction of carbon dioxide levels. This upsets acid-base balance or PH level. This condition is called respiratory alkalosis, which can result in irritability, stress and depression (in long run).
Breathing exercises by raising carbon dioxide level in blood helps to maintain pH level and thus eliminate stress, anxiety and depression.
By stimulating Vagus nerve
Breathing exercises stimulates Vagus nerve and parasympathetic nervous system, which upon activation, induces calmness and relaxation along with improved vigilance and attention.
By modulating hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis
This axis gets activated at time of stress leading to the fight and flight response. Conscious Sine Wave Breathing exercises help optimise “relaxation and feel good” hormones prolactin, vasopressin and oxytocin in certain brain areas (hypothalamus and pituitary) besides reducing levels of stress hormones (cortisol and ACTH).
By increasing brain-derived neurotropic factor (BNDF)
BNDF is a protein that is capable of influencing brain functioning and neuroplasticity. Low level of BNDF is associated with depression, Alzheimer’s, obesity and schizophrenia.
Breathing exercises produces antidepressant effects by elevating BNDF levels, thereby help alleviate feeling of doom.
By increasing serotonin and GABA levels
Breathing exercises if practiced continuously can increase level of serotonin or feel good hormone and GABA or anti-stress neurotransmitter.
Other benefits of Breathing exercises for depression
- Breathing exercises plays an active role in healing, as it is capable of reducing mental disturbances.
- It facilitates self-acceptance and helps us to be more grounded and quieter.
- It calms nervous system, helps to overcome internal chaos and deep-rooted fear.
- It can produce many physiological responses like lowering heart rate and respiratory rate.
- It eliminates all emotional blocks that prevent us from leading a healthy and balanced life.
- It rebalances hormonal state of the body.
- It relaxes body and eases the mind.
- It improves cognitive functions.