Take A Deep Breath. Do You Feel Better?

In Brain Circuitry, Brain Science by Brainy Days Ahead

Scientists at Stanford University also feel better now that they have identified the neurons that connect the brain’s respiratory control center with its center for controlling state of mind. We know that a slow respiratory rate improves heart and respiratory function, improves oxygenation of our blood, enhances our stamina for exercise, and increases our general sense of calmness and well-being. Now the researchers are discovering that different types of neurons are responsible for different types of breath, such as regular, excited, sighing, yawning, sleeping, and laughing. In 2016, they identified the neurons that explicitly control sighing. In this study, they also were able to identify neurons that related to calmness, attention, excitement and anxiety. Their findings provide, for the first time, a understanding of the mechanisms by which breathing-control exercises can relieve stress disorders and through which some individuals can achieve a meditative state.