IF stressed or anxious, a common coping mechanism is deep breathing.
But one scientist has argued that this could be the wrong approach and make your symptoms worse.
Neuroscientist and Stanford professor Dr. Andrew Huberman explained that the “inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth” method can increase your heart rate.
On a recent episode of Mayim Bialik’s Breakdown podcast, he said, “If someone is stressed, or if you are stressed, deep breathing is not the best solution.
“If you just take a deep breath, you actually increase your heart rate through a process called respiratory sinus arrhythmia.”
dr. Huberman said the best and fastest way to regulate stress in real time is to breathe through your nose twice.
He suggested inhaling twice through the nose and exhaling long and long through the nose.
“It’s not a hack — this is what you do when you’re in a claustrophobic environment and you do it every one to three minutes during sleep,” said Dr. Huberman.
When a person doesn’t breathe enough, “the lungs’ small sacs called the alveoli collapse and flatten like empty balloons.”
As a result, you don’t get enough oxygen into the bloodstream, and instead “build up carbon dioxide, and when you’re stressed, this happens even more.”
The podcaster explained that when you do a double inhale, it helps the alveoli inflate properly.
“When you do that, you naturally activate the neural circuits in the brain and body that shift the seesaw from sympathetic (alertness and stress) to parasympathetic,” he said.
The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems make up the autonomic nervous system.
While the sympathetic nervous system activates the fight or flight response, the parasympathetic nervous system brings the body back to rest.
“For most people, it only takes one so-called physiological gasp — double inhalation through the nose, long full exhalation through the lungs — to fully return to a calm state,” said Dr. Huberman.
“This is, as far as I know, the fastest way to go from stressed to calm.”
dr. Huberman said some people have trouble breathing through their noses on a daily basis or don’t breathe enough, and mouth breathing has been linked to health problems.
The nose is a better filter for viruses and bacteria than the mouth and can therefore prevent disease.
dr. Zac Turner, a doctor in Australia, told news.com.au in July: “The great thing about your nose is that it is perfectly designed for safe breathing.
“It can filter out foreign particles because of its nasal hairs. It can humidify the air you breathe, making it easier for your lungs to use, and it produces nitric oxide, which is a vasodilator.
“That’s just a scientific way of saying it widens blood vessels to help improve oxygen circulation in your body.
“Your mouth is perfectly designed for eating, drinking and talking, but it doesn’t have any of the useful functions your nose has.”
Dr. Turner said to improve your nasal breathing and lung efficiency, try exercises such as alternate nostril breathing, abdominal breathing, and Breath of Fire.
“These techniques can help you master nasal breathing while improving your lung function and reducing stress,” he said.
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