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Diaphragmatic breathing and its impact on the nervous system

Diaphragmatic breathing and its impact on the nervous system

Breathing is a vital function that allows the entry of oxygen and the elimination of carbon dioxide in the human body. Diaphragmatic breathing is a breathing technique that involves activating the diaphragm for deep, mindful inhalations and exhalations. This type of breathing can have a significant impact on the nervous system, particularly the parasympathetic nervous system, and can reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress.

Diaphragmatic breathing and the nervous system

Diaphragmatic breathing is a breathing technique that focuses on taking deep breaths in and out through the diaphragm, rather than shallow, rapid breaths through the chest. This breathing technique can have a significant impact on the nervous system and overall health.

The nervous system is divided into two parts: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the “fight or flight” response in stressful situations, while the parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the “rest and digest” response and helps us relax and recover.

Diaphragmatic breathing can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and reduce sympathetic nervous system activity, which can help reduce anxiety and stress. When we breathe with the diaphragm, the nerves that are connected to the diaphragm and that are also connected to the parasympathetic nervous system are activated. This sends a signal to the brain to decrease sympathetic nervous system activity and increase parasympathetic nervous system activity.

In addition to helping reduce anxiety and stress, diaphragmatic breathing may have other health benefits as well. Breathing deeply through the diaphragm increases the amount of oxygen reaching the brain and the rest of the body, which can help improve cognitive function and reduce fatigue.

Effects of diaphragmatic breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing can have various effects on the human body. First of all, it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Deep, mindful breathing helps relax your muscles and increases blood flow, which can lower your blood pressure and lessen stress on your heart. Second, diaphragmatic breathing can improve digestion. Activation of the parasympathetic nervous system helps stimulate the digestive system and improve digestion. Additionally, deep breathing can help reduce symptoms of digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome.

Diaphragmatic breathing and anxiety

Diaphragmatic breathing can be an effective tool to reduce anxiety symptoms. Activating the parasympathetic nervous system through deep, mindful breathing can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, helping to lessen the physical symptoms of anxiety. Additionally, diaphragmatic breathing can help calm the mind and reduce negative and worrying thoughts. By focusing on the breath and the sensation of inhalation and exhalation, the mind can move away from negative, obsessive thoughts that can fuel anxiety.

How to practice diaphragmatic breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing is easy to learn and can be practiced anytime, anywhere. To get started, it helps to find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down. Place one hand on the chest and the other on the abdomen, just below the ribs. Inhale slowly through your nose, feeling the air move down and fill your lungs. The abdomen should expand as you inhale, and your hand should move out. Breathe out slowly through your mouth, allowing your abdomen to contract as you exhale. Continue to breathe deeply for several minutes, focusing on the sensation of inhalation and exhalation.


In conclusion, this deep breathing technique can have a positive impact on the nervous system, reducing anxiety and stress and improving cardiovascular and respiratory function. This technique can be easily and effectively learned and practiced, and can be especially beneficial for people who experience high levels of anxiety and stress in their daily lives. In addition, diaphragmatic breathing can be combined with other relaxation and mindfulness techniques to achieve even better results in managing stress and anxiety.

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