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How Belly Breathing Benefits Your Mood

Stress and anxiety are all too common for people at the moment. If you were asked to list a few stressors, it would probably be no problem to come up with a list quickly. But, did you know that breathing can help your anxiety? In turn, this benefits your overall mood. Belly breathing, which is outlined below, is a tool that you can use to turn off your fight-or-flight response and transform it into relaxation.

How Do You Breathe?

Asking yourself how to breathe sounds strange. Breathing, obviously, comes naturally to everyone. But, switching the way you breathe can distinctly improve your mood. Take a moment to notice your own breathing. Where is your breath originating from? For most, it is the chest. Chest breathing comes from being in a fight-or-flight response. Typically, our bodies breathe from this location to make sure our hearts and muscles are prepared to flee danger. This should only be a short-term response, but for many adults, it has become the primary means of breath.

Belly Breathing

Breathing from the belly is linked to relaxation. For example, if you ever have seen a child sleep, they breathe completely in their belly instead of their chest. By learning to belly breathe you can take yourself away from fight-or-flight and you can change your stress reaction.

Belly breathing works because it stimulates the vagus nerve. This nerve is an essential part of the parasympathetic nervous system. It runs from your head, down your neck, through your chest, and all the way to your colon. It is essential in activating your relaxation response, reducing your heart rate, lowering your blood pressure, and alleviating your stress.

To belly breathe here is what you need to do:

  1. Sit in a chair

  2. Lean forward and place your elbows on your knees

  3. Breathe naturally

This position will force your body to breathe from your belly instead of your chest. If you do not have access to a chair or want to practice this another way you can do it standing. All you have to do is be conscious of where your breath is coming from. If you are having an anxious moment, simply focus on your breath. Take three deep breaths from your belly. Check in and see how this feels, repeat if necessary.

Benefits of Belly Breathing

As discussed above, belly breathing helps lower your stress levels. In turn, your mood can improve. Long-term or chronic stress can be dealt with more easily, opening you up to feel better. With lower stress levels, happiness and ease rise. You can make way for positive changes and give yourself the mental capacity to improve your brain state. Your mood can vastly improve through this simple practice.

In terms of your mood, belly breathing helps you practice self-compassion. It is an act of love toward yourself. It helps you become more mindful in and outside of your body, opening you up to more peaceful thoughts and feelings. Additionally, it increases your overall state of happiness and lowers your stress, making it much easier to cope. A mood boost is as simple as focusing on where your breath originates from! Here are some additional benefits of belly breathing:

  • Coping with symptoms of PTSD

  • Improves core muscle stability

  • Slows your breathing rate

  • Helps you relax

  • Reduces the harmful effects of cortisol in your body

  • Lowers your heart rate

  • Reduces your blood pressure

  • Helps your digestive processes

Overall, belly breathing can have a significant impact on your mood and your general state of well-being. By picking up this practice or using it in times of stress, you can help your happiness and increase your peace.


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