The world was stunned when the news of Robin Williams’s suicide surfaced. Unfortunately his story is not unique. Funnymen Richard Jeni, Charles Rocket and Freddie Prinze also committed suicide after losing battles to depression. Of course, one doesn’t have to be a professional comedian to suffer from this dangerous disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 90% of people who take their own lives are diagnosed with depression or another mental illness. A report done in 2013 also suggests baby boomers suffering from depression are more likely to consider suicide than other generation groups.
To dull the pain of depression, many turn to drugs or alcohol but this only worsens the situation. Healthier options are available and must be used as part of a strategy to properly combat depression.
Often when a person’s mood is low, their breathing is shallow and constricted. This causes an inadequate supply of oxygen in the blood and can result in an emotional imbalance. Fortunately, there are simple breathing exercises to deepen one’s breathing and lighten one’s mood.
If you close your eyes and focus all your attention on breathing deeply, you can relax your body. This will allow you to open your mind and welcome in positive thoughts. Simply increase the depth of your breath so you are taking four or fewer breaths every 60 seconds. Try this for five minutes and see how much better you feel.
To be less depressed and more energized, try this exercise. First, sit on a chair with your back straight and feet flat on the floor. Reach straight up with both hands. Then, inhale deeply. As you hold your breath, squeeze your fists before exhaling slowly. Imagine you are pulling down on rubber bands as you lower your fists to your chest. Now, repeat this a couple more times.
When you’re almost ready to finish, cross your arms over your chest. Rest your fingers on your chest, with your wrists crossed in the middle. Drop your chin to your chest and inhale four short breaths without exhaling. Hold your breath before finally exhaling slowly through your mouth. Then, repeat for a few more minutes.
If this exercise sounds too complicated, you may want to first try basic breathing exercises with a respiratory trainer such as Breathslim®. This handy device can help you pay attention to your breathing and literally change your life for the better.