In today’s fast-paced world, stress and anxiety have become all too common. From work and school, to relationships and finances, there are many contributing factors. Although occasional stress is a normal part of life, chronic and persistent stress and anxiety can have detrimental effects on both our physical and mental well-being. But, not to worry — this is where proper breathing techniques can be incredibly helpful! Shown to calm our nervous system, reduce cortisol, and boost feel-good hormones like serotonin, there’s a growing body of research that supports the use of nasal breathing for managing stress and anxiety.
Of course, there are a multitude of beneficial breathing techniques out there. But nose breathing, in particular, is a simple and effective tool that’s easy to learn and widely accessible.
So whether you’re dealing with a stressful situation at work, struggling with anxiety, or simply looking for ways to improve your mental and physical health, here’s everything you need to know about the benefits of nose breathing.
4 Impressive Benefits of Nose Breathing
Activates the Parasympathetic Nervous System
Nose breathing has been shown to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, our rest and digest system responsible for calming the body and reducing feelings of stress and anxiety. In fact, there’s research to show it can help to reduce levels of cortisol and improve heart rate variability, which is a measure of stress resilience.
Enhances Cognitive Function & Mental Clarity
Linked to improvements in memory, focus, attention, and clarity, nose breathing has been shown to boost cognitive health by increasing the amount of oxygen and blood flow to the brain. This is because nasal breathing helps to increase the production of nitric oxide, a molecule that helps to dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow. Studies have shown that nitric oxide can help to regulate the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as GABA and glutamate, which are involved in anxiety and mood regulation.
Plus, this increased blood flow can help to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the brain, thereby supporting cognitive health! In fact, according to research, nasal breathing has been shown to increase alpha brain wave activity, brain waves associated with a state of relaxed wakefulness, improved attention, and enhanced cognitive performance and focus.
When we breathe through the nose, the air is filtered, humidified, and warmed before it reaches the lungs. This process helps to increase the amount of oxygen that is taken up by the body, which can support optimal health — physically, mentally, and emotionally! We see this through enhanced oxygen uptake during exercise and improvements in stress and anxiety.
Struggling to sleep? Try breathing through your nose! From reducing the risk of sleep-disordered breathing to promoting relaxation and reducing stress levels, research shows nasal breathing can positively benefit both sleep quality and quantity.
Thanks to its beneficial effects on the nervous system, research suggests that nasal breathing can help to improve sleep quality by promoting relaxation and reducing stress levels. And because nasal breathing helps to keep the airways open, it prevents the collapse of the upper airway (which often occurs with mouth breathing), thereby reducing the risk of snoring and sleep apnea.
Simple Tips to Incorporate Nose Breathing Into Your Daily Life
#1 Be Mindful of Your Breath
Be mindful of your breathing throughout the day, and try to breathe through your nose as much as possible. Until it becomes habit, you could even set an alert on your phone or leave yourself a sticky note reminder to check in on your breath.
#2 Adopt a Regular Nose Breathing Routine
Start your day with some deep nose breathing — even if it’s just for a minute or two! Whether you set up a grounding space or simply take a few deep breaths through your nose before getting out of bed, it’s a great way to kick off your day. If morning doesn’t work for you, set aside a time that works best, and stay consistent!
#3 Use Nasal Breathing During Meditation or Yoga
Aside from adopting a regular nasal breathing practice, try to incorporate this breathing style into other stress-busting routines like meditation and yoga. According to research, it can help deepen these practices and clear your mind!
Breathe Your Way to Better Health
Who would have thought that reducing stress and anxiety could be as easy as incorporating nose breathing into your daily routine? This simple yet powerful practice offers numerous benefits to our physical and mental health, including improved oxygenation, reduced feelings of stress and anxiety, and enhanced cognitive function. So, why not give it a try? Whether you’re exercising, meditating, or going about your daily activities, incorporating nose breathing into your routine can leave you feeling balanced and calm. The best part? It can be practiced anytime, anywhere — even right now! Give it a try and see for yourself.