A neuroscientist has unlocked a way to access your brain’s ‘reset button’ simply through breathing.
Breathing techniques have long been known to help combat stress and anxiety in particular, and now Professor Ian Robertson has said it can help us access the brain’s so-called ‘reset button’.
Robertson, a scientist looking into the science of stress and wellbeing, explained that breathing exercises access a part of the brain known as locus coeruleus. This part of the brain produces something known as noradrenaline.
Explaining what this is, Robertson told Michael Moseley’s Just One Thing podcast, ‘Noradrenaline is the brain’s equivalent to adrenaline for the body, so it’s a general preparation for action – arousal neurotransmitter. And, so, the way we breathe affects the carbon dioxide in our blood, and the locus coeruleus responds very, very precisely to how much carbon dioxide that’s in the blood at any particular moment.’
Robertson went on to say that this affects a person’s ‘fight or flight’ network, as well as the body’s ‘rest and digest’ systems that affects almost every organ in our body.
Further describing deep breathing as ‘the most precise pharmaceutical you could ever give yourself’, Robertson says that just one deep breath will give your brain a reset because it reduces the firing of the locus coeruleus, and reduces the levels of noradrenaline.
Robertson continued, ‘[Reducing the levels of noradrenaline in the brain] is very, very important for clarity of thought for controlling our emotions and many other faculties.’
The professor also described the 4-6 breathing technique, when you breathe in for four seconds, and exhale for six, as a ‘perfectly safe and wonderful little, mini tranquilliser’.
Give it a try for yourself!
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