How Breathing Affects Our Wellbeing

Photo credit: Birmingham Breathes

Unfortunately, most of us take breathing for granted. It might be automatic, but some real differences are made in our physical and mental health when we take into consideration some breathing principles or techniques and most importantly, know the benefits and importance of fresh, clean air.

Our body cells need a necessary daily amount of oxygen to properly function, we all know that. But, we should also know that this cannot be achieved by staying on closed doors, breathing the same air over and over again and by not learning how to properly breathe! It seems that nowadays, people have forgotten the importance of spending time outdoors and never give their body and mind a chance to truly supply and revitalize themselves with the right amount of oxygen.

Science has already confirmed: fresh air and proper breathing can save lives! Yes, it can literally saves millions of lives every year! Living indoors is slowly destroying our quality of life and we are still not doing anything about it. Moreover, we only use 30-40% of our breathing capacity! This is why, our body-mind balance gets destroyed and health problems get in our way.

Breathing and our body

Did you know that according to a study by Environmental Pollution journal, in just one year, in the presence of trees and forests in United States, 850 lives were saved and also, 670,000 cases of acute respiratory symptoms were prevented? The biggest difference happens in urban areas where 17.4 million tones of air pollution were removed in just one year!

You see, it doesn’t matter if you live in an urban area or not, it’s still vital to get outside and breathe some fresh air that eventually will come to you from the forests and trees that may siege your city.

Physical benefits of breathing fresh air

  • Prevents cancer. According to the Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Warburg, in 1931, cancer is caused by a lack of oxygen respiration in cells. He stated, “…the cause of cancer is no longer a mystery, we know it occurs whenever any cell is denied 60% of its oxygen requirements…”
  • Our lungs function better. They get more oxygen and their cleaning process is easily done.
  • Your digestive system functions better. Have you ever heard people saying to go outside and take some fresh air after you eat? Well, there is a scientific reason behind that. When our body gets enough oxygen, it digests the food more effectively.
  • Our immune system gets stronger! Our white blood cells need a lot more oxygen in order to fully destroy our bacteria and viruses when working. It also purifies the blood in general.
  • Improves our heart rate and blood pressure by not forcing the body to work harder.
  • Pure, fresh air invigorates our vital organs and aids our system by getting rid of the impurities accumulation.
  • No more cramping! When our muscles have enough oxygen, the build-up of lactic acid (which leads to cramping), get reduced.


Breathing and mental health

Did you know that our brain uses 20% of the total amount of oxygen we take? When we do not give him the necessary amount, it will work slowly and then, all our body functions that our brain regulates will also be badly affected.

Keep in mind!

  • A forced breathing with not enough oxygen, affects our nervous system a lot. This leads to a higher level of stress.
  • Spending some daily time outdoors, in fresh air, gives a major help in reducing depression and anxiety.
  • Proper breathing and enough oxygen will make our brain be more focused, our creativity will increase and we will not feel tired and sleepy all the time.
  • More oxygen, more negative ions in our system which leads to giving our nervous system (and body), electrical energy which will immediately make increase our mood and supply us with a sense of serenity.


Easy breathing principles to implement in our daily life


1. Breathe through the nose

Always breathe through the nose; its explicitly designed for this purpose! When we breathe through our mouth, the air that gets into our body is unfiltered, full of bacteria, viruses and other dirt.

2. Use your diaphragm!

This muscle, positioned right below our lungs, plays an important part when it comes to proper breathing. When we take a deep breath, our lungs extend and the diaphragm presses down, that is why our abdomen gets bigger. Also, we should extend our exhale. It relaxes our body and makes the inhale more rhythmical and deeper. For proper breathing, the inhale should last 3 seconds and exhale, 4 seconds. Try to make a 2-3 second pause between them. Try to control your breath by letting it be rhythmical, deep and silent.

Photo credit: EMH Physical Therapy

3. Focus on your breath

Every breath should represent a relaxed body and mind. Do not let your breath be like your physical or mental state. When we’re stressed, our breath tends to be shorter which leads to a lack of oxygen. The less oxygen, the more stressed our body and mind will turn to be. Keep in mind that to effectively calm yourself down, your breathing should be diaphragmatic.

4. Posture matters

A straight one gives the diaphragm more space to work. Our stomach (should push outwards and inwards to release), and shoulders (up and down), should noticeably change position while breathing. A bad posture makes proper deep breathing almost impossible to happen!

Just keep in mind

Deep breathing and fresh air are some of the most important tools everyone can use to a better mental and physical health!