When you say you’re stressed, you may be told to just “breathe deeply”. Although you may think it a cliche, researchers have enough proof to show that breathing deeply to slow the effects of stress is a research-backed strategy.
Consciously controlling your breathing signals your mind and then body that you are in control, not being controlled. This will cause a rapid reduction in feelings of panic, stress and anxiety.
Deep breathing exercises or controlled breathing gives your lungs increased volumes of oxygen while allowing more carbon dioxide to be shuttled out of the body.
Below is an exercise in deep breathing that is routine for us.
It is through this kind of breathing that the parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated in order to relieve the fight or flight response of the body’s sympathetic nervous system.
Once the parasympathetic system is triggered, the vagus nerve is also stimulated. This is the nerve that runs from the base of your brain down to your abdomen.
When the vagus nerve is stimulated it also releases acetylcholine which is a transmitter that jumpstarts a feeling of calmness while also improving the ability to focus.
This feeling of calmness which comes from stimulating the vagus nerve through deep breathing also has proven potential in helping people who are afflicted with depression.
We encourage you to practice deep breathing when you find yourself in a stressed state.