incredible-marketing Arrow

There is deep breathing and then there is controlled deep breathing. Deep breathing and controlled deep breathing are just about the same, except controlled deep breathing puts more intention on the breath. Inhale. Expand the belly by filling it with air. Then the key- pause. Hold the breath briefly and then fully exhale until all the air is gone. Before inhaling again, take another brief pause. Begin the cycle again. Commonly, people use intervals of seconds to count and guide the breathing practice. Eventually, the exhale should be longer than the inhale, learning to let go of all the air.

Breathing doesn’t take much work. We often aren’t aware of our breath until we take a deep breath and realize just how unaware of our breath we really are. Tuning into the breath has more benefit for us than paying attention to our breath. In doing so, we activate our parasympathetic nervous system, bringing the rest of our nervous system to a calm state. Reduced stress, improved immune system function, and even an increase in brain matter have all been linked to putting the focus on the breath and breathing in a slow, controlled manner. Controlled breathing is also found to reduce the intensity of anxiety or depression symptoms and symptoms of trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder along with many other mental health conditions.

Trauma can be defined as a disorder of the nervous system. Symptoms of trauma can include symptoms of other mental health conditions as many mental health conditions develop as a response to trauma.

The New York Times reports in “Breathe. Exhale. Repeat: The Benefits of Controlled Breathing” that “Consciously changing the way you breathe appears to send a signal to the brain to adjust the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system…The parasympathetic nervous system works against the sympathetic nervous system which is activated by the fight or flight response. For someone who has experienced trauma, any kind of stimuli can be misinterpreted as a threat and activate the survival response of the sympathetic nervous system. Controlled breathing, such a simple practice, “…can slow heart rate and digestion and promote feelings of calm as well as the sympathetic system, which controls the release of stress hormones like cortisol.”