Improve Brain Health with Controlled Breathing
Controlled breathing—a key part of meditation and mindfulness practices directly affects a key chemical messenger in the brain, according to a new study from Trinity College Dublin. The finding suggests that controlled breathing can enhance attention and improve brain health.
Respiration Influences the Mind
“Practitioners of yoga have claimed for some 2,500 years that respiration influences the mind,” said lead author Michael Melnychuk. “We looked for a neurophysiological link that could help explain these claims by measuring breathing, reaction time, and brain activity.”
The Link Between Breathing and Focus
The researchers determined that the chemical messenger noradrenaline is affected by how we breathe. “When we are stressed we produce too much noradrenaline and we can’t focus,” Melnychuk said. “When we feel sluggish, we produce too little and again, we can’t focus. There is a sweet spot of noradrenaline in which our emotions, thinking, and memory are much clearer.” He said that attention is influenced by our breath, and that “it rises and falls with the cycle of respiration.”