work, home office, managing stress, breathing (Photo: Getty Images)

(Photo: Getty Images)

Breathing is such an automatic process that we do it practically without thinking. But science points out that changing the way we deal with it has profound effects on mental and physical health. According to a report by the portal Inc., learning to breathe more deeply can reverse chronic and debilitating health conditions, and simple breathing in and out exercises can help treat insomnia.

And there’s more: Andrew Huberman, neuroscientist and professor at Stanford University, USA, says that alterations in this very natural act can “hijack the body’s stress response and instantly turn off that growing sense of panic we all fear”.

In this case, he indicates using the “psychological sigh”, which promotes changes in respiratory rhythms. In practice, it works as follows: take two short breaths in through your nose and then a long exhale through your mouth. Repeat 1 to 3 times.

This trick is based on a simple fact of anatomy. When we breathe in, our diaphragm and other muscles move in such a way that the chest expands, leaving a little more room for the heart. In response, this organ also expands, causing the blood within it to slow down a bit. From there, the brain sends a signal that it should be accelerated.

The opposite happens when we breathe out. Everything contracts, including the heart. The blood speeds up and the organ slows down. And that’s exactly what you look for in times of stress. So, to calm down quickly and regain control, you need to make your exhalations longer and more forceful than your inhalations.

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