How The Way We Breathe Influences Our Nervous System

Shallow breathing is a natural response to stress. But the tension nowadays can keep our bodies in a chronic state of emergency. This hectic breath disturbs the O2/CO2 balance in our bodies. We can observe a vicious circle: anxiety leads to non-rhythmic breathing, meanwhile, the body’s biochemical imbalance triggers mechanisms of stimulation. The heart has to work harder to move less oxygenated blood around the body.

We are discharging enormous amounts of toxins with our breath. If the respiratory system is not working efficiently, there are additional detoxication tasks that fall on other systems and organs including the kidneys, the liver, and the skin. Feelings of tiredness, anxiety, and dispersion become habitual.

The “stress breath” mode prepares us to fight or flee.  It is an expression of autonomic nervous system response directed to overcoming the impact of surroundings. Digestive processes are slowing down and sexual response is under inhibition. Physical energy is directed to the muscular system, and we spend our mental energy on outside reactions. If the fight-or-flight response starts functioning, we are hostile with the world. If we cannot fight or flee, another part of the nervous system activates. It gets us dissociated, inflexible and suppressed. As the breath takes part in this process, this fact enables us to influence this process.

First, you can start by recognizing this pattern of reaction, when it starts. Notice whether the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual effects of this activation are necessary resources in a given situation. Consider all the phenomena of your manifold reaction as a resource of inherent energy. Feel safe, then make your steps forward.
It is possible to change this typical response by applying the following methods.

Categorised in: Breathwork

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