Everybody knows that taking deep breaths can help with stress relief, but people have always wondered why. A new study published in the Science journal might have found the answer. Scientists looked at mouse brains and found a group of nerves which might play a role in the regulation of breathing.
The research claims to have discovered the link between deep regular breaths and the control of stress and anxiety. Scientists found these nerves in the brains of mice which control breathing. The nerves are also connected with to the brain’s arousal center. Thus, these nerves might be controlling brain activity to a certain extent.
Breathing is directly related to anxiety
Mark Krasnow, professor of biochemistry and Stanford University and one of the lead researchers, explained what this link might be good for. The nerves can control breathing. At the same time, they are related to the arousal center of the brain. As they can slow down the breaths, they might also prevent this center from being activated in stressful situation.
“So you can calm your breathing and also calm your mind.”
Scientists used mice for their research. They analyzed their brains and searched for certain neurons and links which control breathing. Thus, they found 3000 neurons in charge of regulating breathing patterns. Then, they altered these neurons to see if they this affects their breathing, but the patterns remained unchanged.
However, they were able to notice some changes. These mice with genetically modified neurons had a different behavior in stressful situations. Those actions which otherwise would have made them anxious now left them calm. Then, they discovered that some of the nerves they had altered were linked to the arousal center in the brain.
The same connection might be present in humans
Summing it up, the team discovered the nerve bundle which controlled both breathing and the arousal center. A modification in these nerves led to a modification in the behavior of mice in situations which cause anxiety or stress. Therefore, breathing must be linked to anxiety.
Scientists think that humans have the same calming mechanism. This would explain why taking deep breaths can help a person calm down. Now, scientists hope that they can find more effective ways to control anxiety and maybe even develop new drugs which can target these nerves and deal with anxiety right from the source.
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