The advice to just breathe at stressful times sounds like a cliché of Godzilla-sized proportions but it does not make it untrue. It is because deep breathing not only manages stress but helps to manage the vast processing system of the unconscious mind. The new research has now revealed that a deep breath can help to change your brain.
This can easily be explained as simple changes in breathing at different pace along with a careful attention have shown to engage most parts of your brain. It is because humans have a unique ability to control emotions, the ability to stay awake despite being tired, or overpowering their thoughts. But the question that baffled scientists over a long period of time was that why humans are capable of violently regulating their breathing and how do they gain access to parts of their brain that goes under the control of the conscious mind.
The recent study that was carried out answered the question by showing that by violently controlling your respirational and focusing on breathing yields additional success and synchrony between different areas of your brain. Once you understand that, it leads to better control, focus, calmness, as well as emotional control. For this purpose, a study was conducted at NorthShore University Hospital in Long Island by Dr. Jose Herrero in collaboration with Dr. Ashesh Mehta, a renowned neurosurgeon.
They observed the brain activity with patients who were breathing normally. Then the patients were given a simple task to distract them by clicking a button where circles appeared on the computer screen. This activity was observed and then the patients were asked to concisely increase the pace of breathing and start counting their breath. It was seen that when breathing changed with the exercises, it brought a change in their mind as well. It was observed that the breathing manipulation activated various parts of the human brain with some overlapping the sites involved in automatic and intentional breathing.
The results were found to support the advice that was given to patients during times of stress or when an increased concentration was required. The deep breathing technique was found to have the potential to help individuals in a variety of professions that require extreme focus and agility. The study also utilized a rare technique of neural research that looked directly into the brains of awake and alert humans. This study involved the electrodes that were implanted in the human brain and enabled the scientists to study thinking, deciding, imagining, or even dreaming by directly observing the brain.
The study observed patients who had electrodes implanted in their brain as part of a clinical treatment for epilepsy and were experiencing seizures that could not be controlled by medication. Therefore, they were required to have surgical interventions to identify the seizure focus for future resection. But the research showed that the advice of taking a deep breath appeared to alter the connectivity between various parts of the brain. It enabled an access to the internal sites that are normally inaccessible otherwise.