Slowing down your breathing has the potential to change the chemistry in your brain. Professor Ian Robertson, a British neuroscientist, believes that “breathing” is the most refined medicine that humans provide for themselves, and can be practiced at any time without worrying about side effects.
Taipei, Taiwan (The CTP News) – Deep breathing helps relieve stress! We breathe all the time, this is a biological instinct, but it also contains the code of life health. By slowing our breathing, we can loosen tense muscles, expand our chests, adjust our posture, and increase our lung capacity, allowing our tissues and cells to get fresh oxygen and nutrients. Scientists believe that breathing patterns affect the brain, heart rate, mood, blood pressure and other parts of the body.
How we breathe affects our mind and body
When we are under stress, noradrenaline in the brain starts to increase, interfering with our concentration, and carbon dioxide in the blood also rises, making the noradrenaline-producing locus coeruleus more active and producing more noradrenaline. The mind becomes more confused and difficult to concentrate. Just reminding yourself to slow down your breathing at this point has the potential to change the chemistry in your brain. Research has found that deep breathing acts like a reset button in the brain, suspending the locus coeruleus region of the brain, preventing excessive noradrenaline production, and allowing us to calm down and restore focus.
Professor Ian Robertson, a British neuroscientist, believes that “breathing” is the most refined medicine that humans provide for themselves, especially deep breathing, which has the most obvious effect. Practicing at any time without worrying about side effects allows us to change our moods in an instant. Adjusting and controlling our breathing rate can help us relieve stress and control our emotions. Research has also confirmed that deep breathing can improve memory and decision-making. A business school in France asked students to do a 2-minute deep breathing exercise before performing decision-making tasks. The results found that their decision-making ability increased, and related course scores improved by more than 50%.
Surrounded by various pressures, our sympathetic nerves will be in a hyperactive state, and deep breathing can stimulate the parasympathetic nerves that help us relax, which helps to stabilize emotions, relax muscles, relieve anxiety, and improve sleep quality. Increase the oxygen supply of the blood in a gentle and steady inhalation, and metabolize the waste accumulated in the body in a deep and long exhalation. With the adjustment of breathing depth, it can also exercise the core muscles and massage the internal organs.
Start daily deep breathing exercises
Because modern people often work in front of computers, they sit for a long time. Sometimes they bend their bodies forward and press their chests, and their breathing will become shallower, making them prone to chest tightness or difficulty breathing. The greater the pressure, the tighter the body will be, and it will be more difficult to take a deep breath. You can only passively use the upper chest muscles to exhale and exhale. The air is limited to the chest position, which not only makes you unable to breathe deeply but also causes more soreness and pain in the shoulder and neck muscles. You’ll have poor circulation.
When you feel tired, tense, down, or lacking energy, it’s time to stop and practice breathing. Start by focusing on your breathing with the easiest way to slow down. Take a deep breath through your nose, count 1 to 4 in your mind, then open your mouth and exhale, count 1 to 6 in your mind, let it slowly become your natural breathing rate, but don’t let it become your stress, just remember the exhalation time is always a little longer than the inhalation.
Next, habitual chest breathing can be adjusted to abdominal breathing. More than 80% of people are used to chest breathing. The breathing depth is shallow and the frequency is rapid. Only the upper third of the lungs have air in and out, which is more suitable for anaerobic or strenuous exercise. In abdominal breathing, the abdomen will bulge when inhaling, and it will be concave when exhaling so that oxygen can enter the entire lungs, and the exhaust gas at the bottom of the body can also be discharged, the path becomes longer, and the breathing rate naturally slows down.
Start practicing abdominal breathing in three easy steps:
- Do 1 or 2 exhales first to expel the existing air in the lungs as much as possible so that the fresh air has a complete space to enter the entire lungs.
- Put your hands lightly on your stomach, inhale gently through your nose, feel the air pass from your nose through your lungs, and slowly enter your abdomen, and your hands will feel a slight bulge in your stomach.
- Next, start to exhale slowly with your mouth, try to expel all the air in your abdomen, and your hands on your stomach will feel that your abdomen begins to descend. If you are not proficient at the beginning, you can use your palm to help lightly press your abdomen to push up the air to expel it. After you are practiced, you can change to exhale through your nose.
There are many benefits on the physiological level to adjusting the way you breathe. During deep abdominal breathing, the diaphragm will stretch to the abdomen, the body can do a more complete and sufficient gas exchange, which is beneficial to metabolizing waste gas, and can also send fresh oxygen to the bottom of the body for more tissue and cells to use. Circulation and metabolism are improved, and they can also enhance the activity of abdominal organs, help digestion, and prevent constipation. The lung capacity increases along with the amount of air breathed, and the exercise benefit is better, and it can also undertake higher-intensity exercise.
As mentioned above, breathing has a very positive impact on the parasympathetic nerves, and abdominal breathing is even more helpful for stress and emotional regulation. Let us focus on breathing, reduce stress and anxiety, calm the heart rate and brain, reduce the activity of the locus coeruleus and the sense of warning during stress, muscles can relax, and sleep better at night. After our emotions are calmed down, the body is less sensitive to pain, so abdominal breathing can also relieve chronic pain.
The National Health Service recommends breathing practice every day to maintain health. Harvard Medical School has also confirmed that breathing has multiple benefits for long-term health. Start to adjust your breathing now, slow down your breathing rate and your pace of life, and take back control of your body and mind. Restore your health and your emotions to stability, and you will find that stress and emotions no longer bother your daily life.