Breathwork & Meditation
According to studies done by Stanford University, breathwork and meditation can help treat depression, anxiety, and PTSD. As a simple way to calm and focus your mind, these practices are often used to help those who suffer from mental health issues. By reaching a deeper state of mind via breathwork and meditation, you may be able to access buried emotions, grudges, and traumas, and ultimately release yourself from their grip.
Breathwork encompasses a broad spectrum of whole-being therapeutic practices and exercises used to relieve mental, physical, and emotional tension. Although the process of breathing seems simple, completing a full breath cycle involves your whole body—your chest, belly, back, and mind. It takes an effort to coordinate all elements of the breath. By breathing deeply, you activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which slows down your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure. This invites the feeling of calm.
You rely on your diaphragm instead of your chest when practicing breath work, allowing your neck and chest muscles to relax and engage your abs and allow a larger amount of oxygen to reach your body’s cells and organs. Deep breathing can help reverse the "fight or flight" response and relax your body. This stops the releases of the surge of hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline.
When breathwork is practiced, you can move beyond your body and mind, and connect with your core spirit - your Self. The temporary removal of ego and connection to your true Self and the Universe allows a spiritual awakening and connection to the inner being.
Overall, meditation is good for mental health. Meditation may particularly increase positive feelings and actions toward yourself and others.
Studies by the University of Pennsylvania showed that human resource workers who regularly practiced mindfulness meditation stayed focused on a task for longer spans of time. According to Texas Tech University and the University of Oregon, meditation helps people learn to redirect their attention, increase their willpower, control their emotions and impulses and increase their understanding of the causes behind their behaviors. One study by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health taught 19 recovering alcoholics how to meditate and found that participants who received the training got better at controlling their cravings and craving-related stress.
Studies have shown that meditating practitioners have increased activity in the brain centers known to control pain. They also reported less sensitivity to pain. Meditation can improve physical health by reducing strain on the heart and inviting the lowering of blood pressure. Becoming skilled in meditation practices helps individuals control and redirect the racing or "runaway" thoughts that often lead to insomnia.