We all know that breathing is essential for life. But did you know that how you breathe can also affect your brain? Here, we take a look at the science of breathing and how it can impact your cognitive function.
The link between breathing and brain function was first established in the early 1900s by Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov. Pavlov discovered that he could alter a dog's psychological state simply by changing its pattern of respiration. Since then, numerous studies have been carried out to explore the relationship between breath and brain function in humans.
So, how does breathing affect your brain? In short, it all comes down to oxygen. When you breathe in, oxygen is taken into your lungs and circulated around your body. This oxygen-rich blood then travels to your brain, where it is used to fuel cognitive function.
But it's not just the quantity of oxygen that is important; the quality of your breath is also crucial. Shallow, chest breathing delivers less oxygen to the brain than deep, belly breathing. That's because shallow breathing doesn't fully exchange all of the air in your lungs, so less oxygen is available for circulation. Additionally, shallow breathing can lead to hyperventilation, which can cause dizziness, anxiety, and other negative side effects.
A good way to get into a routine and practice positive breathing is by using Mindsights Breathing Buddha. Which utilizes the popular 4/7/8 breathing cycle, to make a positive impact in your day to day life! That's right: the way you breathe can impact everything from cognitive function to stress levels. So next time you're finding it hard to concentrate or feeling a little overwhelmed, take a few minutes to focus on your breath. You might just find that it makes all the difference!