Why conscious breathing is more important than ever in university students

The pandemic has disrupted the well-being of students with frequent lockdowns, social isolations and online learning. This has resulted in severe implications on their mental health resulting in depression and anxiety.


Being a university student is very challenging during these times with mounting pressure on submitting your assignments or keeping up with your peer groups. These situations can give rise to loneliness, stress and can also lead to severe physical health problems such as high blood pressure and strokes.

On the occasion of University Mental Health Day, we take a look at how conscious breathing will help students who are struggling with their mental health through regular practice and routine.


Students feeling calm and happy

Conscious breathing can be practiced anywhere with the help of Luma³ through simple and effective methods. Breathing is a natural function that when controlled in particular ways helps you to boost your well-being and reduce stress to a great extent.


Students already struggling with their mental health are in danger of falling into a serious illness that may have a prolonged effect on their life. Extensive research has shown that students who are already suffering from mental illness tend to engage in uncharacteristic behaviours including extensive use of drugs and alcohol, especially during Covid-19.


Deep breathing is shown to calm stress and anxiety and helps our minds to be more relaxed and focused. It is proven to help move our body from a stressed state to one of rest and relaxed focus by activating our parasympathetic nervous system. It does this in a couple of ways.


But what is the parasympathetic nervous system?


The sympathetic nervous system gears up our body for stressful 'fight or flight' situations. The parasympathetic nervous system has the opposite effect and calms our body, prompting us to 'rest and digest'.


These two systems are wired through our entire body as part of the autonomic nervous system and so when they activate, they have a profound effect on how we think and feel as well as what we are physically and emotionally capable of. They control our heart rate, breathing, digestion, muscles, and even how well and clearly, we can think.


Conscious breathing is proven to help move our body from a stressed state to one of rest and relaxed focus by activating our parasympathetic nervous system. It does this in a couple of ways.


  • The position of our breath is important. When we are stressed, we take shallow breaths at the top of our chest. By consciously moving this to the stomach and breathing with our diaphragm we help promote relaxation.

  • Controlling the speed and duration, especially the ratio of our inhalation and exhalations. Luma³ makes this part easy and enjoyable through its four different guided conscious breathing cycles.


As the pandemic, and now terrible events in the Ukraine, wreak havoc on the mental health of students, adding conscious breathing to your daily routine will reduce the stress on the body and mind by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, and these small yet noteworthy steps will be beneficial for students in the long run.


References:

Popovic, M., & Lim, F. (2020). The mental health and wellbeing of university students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Pain Management, 13(4), 319–322.