Tag Archives: Attention

How Your Breath Controls Your Mood and Attention – Mindful

“New research explores the relationship between the pace and intentionality of your breathing, and the brain networks involved in mood, attention, and body awareness.

Slow down, and pay attention to your breath. It’s not merely common-sense advice. It also reflects what meditation, yoga, and other stress-reducing therapies teach: that focusing on the timing and pace of our breath can have positive effects on our body and mind.

A new study in the Journal of Neurophysiology may support this, revealing that several brain regions linked to emotion, attention and body awareness are activated when we pay attention to our breath.

Paced breathing involves consciously inhaling and exhaling according to a set rhythm. For example, you might inhale for 4 counts, exhale for 6, and repeat. Prior research shows that paced breathing exercises can both focus attention and regulate the nervous system. To date, however, we have known little about how this affects brain function in humans.

These findings represent a breakthrough because, for years, we’ve considered the brain stem to be responsible for the process of breathing. This study found that paced breathing also uses neural networks beyond the brain stem that are tied to emotion, attention, and body awareness. By tapping into these networks using the breath, we gain access to a powerful tool for regulating our responses to stress.”

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