How Does Breathing Impact Focus?
Believe it or not, the way you breathe directly influences your brain’s chemistry. According to a recent study published by Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, there’s an actual physical link between breathing patterns and the brain’s focus network. Specifically, breathing rhythms affect noradrenaline (aka norepinephrine) levels in the body. Noradrenaline is both a hormone and a neurotransmitter known to play a key role in attention and thinking. It helps us boost focus, sustain concentration, and maintain alertness and motivation.
This brain chemical is released when we’re engaged in the present, curious, or emotionally aroused. Low levels of it have been associated with ADHD, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, and even fibromyalgia.
Symptoms of noradrenaline imbalance can include: • Loss of alertness • Memory problems • Lack of arousal and interest
At optimal levels, noradrenaline acts like brain fertilizer because it helps the brain grow new connections thereby improving brain health. When we’re stressed we produce too much noradrenaline and we can’t focus. When we feel sluggish, we produce too little and again, we can’t focus.
Study shows that there is a sweet spot of noradrenaline in which our emotions, thinking, and memory are much clearer when we breathe. Respiration influences the mind. Our attention is influenced by our breath and rises and falls with the cycle of respiration. By focusing on and regulating your breathing you can optimize your attention level and likewise, by focusing on your attention level, your breathing becomes more synchronized.
Isn't that amazing?