Improve Your Mood With Breathing

Have you ever had a bad mood that you couldn’t snap out of?  Once a negative emotional state such as sadness, anger or fear sets in, it can be difficult to switch back to a positive mind-set.  Fortunately, yoga breathing exercises are a powerful mood enhancer.

A study conducted Published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine in 1993 demonstrated that pranayama (yogic breathing exercises) is a more beneficial technique to enhance moods than either visualization or relaxation techniques.  Wood and colleagues specifically studied the effects of these three techniques on 71 healthy adults’ perceptions of:

  • Physical and mental energy
  •  Positive and negative mood states

After 2 sessions of each intervention, the results were quite convincing:

  •  Pranayama: largest increases in perceptions of mental/physical energy & feelings of alertness /enthusiasm  (P< 0.5)
  •  Relaxation: more sleepy and sluggish than pranayama (P< 0.05)
  •  Visualization: more sluggish, less content than pranayama (P<0.05) & more upset than relaxation (P<0.05)

Therefore, we can conclude that yoga breathing exercises have invigorating effects on perceptions of mental/physical energy and increased mood than either relaxation or visualization.  Keeping in mind the participants only performed 2 sessions or pranayama; we can consider these exercises to be a fast option to help boost our moods when you can’t beat the cycle of negative thinking.  Follow the instructions below for an easy to learn pranayama technique.

Supine Abdominal Breathing

  1. Lay down on your back with your knees bent.  Feel free to use a pillow under the head if necessary for comfort.
  2. Rest your hands on your abdomen, just below the navel.
  3. Breathe in deeply, trying to expand the area under your hands.
  4. Exhale, letting your belly relax.
  5. Try to keep the ribs and upper chest from moving with this technique
  6. Practice for up to 5 minutes utilizing the same amount of time to breathe in and out.
  7. If feel comfortable with this technique and would like to achieve an even calmer state, try holding the inhale for 1-3 seconds prior to breathing out.  If you experience any uncomfortable feelings, your body is not yet ready for retention.


Wood, C., et al. (1993).  Mood change and perceptions of vitality: a comparison of the effects of relaxation, visualization and yoga. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 86, 254-258.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dedek
    Oct 07, 2011 @ 12:02:05

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    Nov 17, 2011 @ 17:06:10

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  4. Oxana
    Apr 09, 2012 @ 00:09:17

    in yoga , in yoga ,kapalabhati pranayam and snaavngasraa are the most powerfull tool to beat athsma.there are another techniques like kunjal kriya which is voluntary vomiting to clean your stomach and lungs and neti kriya to clean your nose and throat this cleans the whole breathing system.learning these techniques is easy but requires the help of a qualified instructor.avoid fat becoming vegeteraian its a good idea


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