Deep breathing strengthens the brain and increases mindfulness

(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers at the Trinity College Institute of Neurology and the Global Institute for Brain Health have found that focused breathing affects levels of norepinephrine, the brain’s natural chemical messenger.

Norepinephrine is released into the blood when you are curious, focused, or emotionally aroused. It increases attention to detail and improves overall brain health by promoting the growth of new neural connections.

When you are stressed, too much norepinephrine is produced, which makes it difficult to concentrate. When you feel lethargic, too little of it is produced, which also makes it difficult to concentrate.

The researchers measured the study participants’ breathing, attention span, and activity in an area of ​​the brainstem called the locus coeruleus, where norepinephrine is produced.

They found that those who were good at concentrating on a difficult task had synchronized breathing and attention, in contrast to those who were poor at concentrating and had inconsistent breathing patterns.

“This study showed that locus coeruleus activity slightly increases with inhalation and decreases slightly with exhalation,” says Michael Melnichuk, Ph.D. at the Trinity College Institute of Neurosciences and lead author of the study.

“In simple terms, this means that our attention is dependent on the breath and that it rises and falls along with the breath cycle.

It is possible that by focusing on your breathing and regulating it, you can optimize the level of attention, and in the same way, by focusing on the level attention, your breathing will become more synchronized.”

Breathing exercises may help people with ADHD and traumatic brain injury

The researchers suggest further research to better understand how breathing exercises can serve as an alternative to medications for people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and traumatic brain injury, and to slow or prevent cognitive decline with age.

“The brain usually loses mass with age, but to a lesser extent this happens in the brains of those who meditate for a long time,” says Melnichuk.

A “younger” brain has a lower risk of developing dementia, and the mindfulness meditation technique actually strengthens the brain circuits.” This study provides another reason for everyone to boost their brain health through a range of exercises, from aerobic exercise to meditation.” .

Two breathing practices that improve concentration

Curious, what type of breathing practice leads to increased concentration? There are two types to choose from depending on what exactly is causing your concentration difficulties.

If you are easily distracted and therefore unable to concentrate, mindfulness meditation will help you focus better. Mental meditation focuses on the sensations of the breath – without trying to control the breath. Your goal is simply to observe.

If your agitation – sleepiness while driving or a panic attack – is affecting your ability to focus, then controlled breathing, such as pranayama, can help calm the nervous system.

Once you have determined which breathing technique is best for you, follow these step-by-step guides to achieve great concentration:

Breath of awareness

Mindfulness Breathing is used during a typical mindfulness meditation session to help you bring your attention back to the present moment.

When you allow yourself to experience the fullness of your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations during mindfulness meditation, you are using your breath as a navigational compass.

You observe the inhalation and exhalation without trying to change them. In this way, the breath becomes your primary tool for bringing you back to the present moment after fleeting thoughts and feelings have passed. A typical mindfulness meditation session lasts 15-20 minutes, practiced once a day.

A step-by-step guide to mindful breathing

– Sit in a comfortable position with your legs crossed or lie down if you feel more comfortable.
– Close your eyes.
– Focus on your breathing – just observe its natural rhythm without trying to regulate it.
– Focus on the rise and fall of the chest, the feeling in the nostrils, and the sound the breath makes in the throat.
– If you are feeling very irritated or stressed, you can use mindful breathing to calm down while counting. – – Inhale through your nose for 3 seconds, hold your breath for 2 seconds, then exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds. Then return to normal breathing and continue watching.

Breath Pranayama

Breath Pranayama, also known as belly breathing, is a yogic technique that helps you breathe through your diaphragm. According to yoga pranayama, there are three types of breathing.

High breathing – breathing primarily with the upper chest and lungs – leads to shallow breathing and is what you do when you are stressed or angry.

Lower breathing – the best form of breathing – uses the lower abdomen and diaphragm to draw air in and out of the lungs.

Medium breathing – between high and low breathing – is better than high breathing, but not as good for you as low breathing.

Knowing that low breathing suits you best is step number one. How to carry it out? Essentially, you should focus on belly breathing.

Breathe in through your nose first, causing your stomach to contract, and then follow your breath up your body. Your chest and shoulder blades will not move, but your stomach will stretch.

Step by step guide to breathing pranayama

– Inhale (Puraka in Yogi language) one continuous, long breath.
– Before exhaling, pause and linger (Abhyantara Kumbhaka) without moving the muscles.
– Exhale (Rechaka) in a controlled, relaxed and continuous manner.
– Pause after exhalation (Bahya Kumbhaka) as in the first pause.
– Start the cycle again.


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