How Your Breath Controls Your Mood and Attention

At the Lotus School we have long known that a period of paced breathing within a meditation practice helps students cope with transition from home to the school day, from lunch to the afternoon studies, and before leaving for the day (school to home.)

This article from Mindful.org focuses on how paced breathing can control both mood and attention. New research explores the relationship between the pace and intentionality of your breathing, and the brain networks involved in mood, attention, and body awareness.

Slow down, and pay attention to your breath. It’s not merely common-sense advice. It also reflects what meditation, yoga, and other stress-reducing therapies teach: that focusing on the timing and pace of our breath can have positive effects on our body and mind. A new study in the Journal of Neurophysiology may support this, revealing that several brain regions linked to emotion, attention and body awareness are activated when we pay attention to our breath.

All told, the results of this study support a link between types of breathing (rapid, intentional, and attentional) and activation in brain structures involved in thinking, feeling and behavior. This raises the possibility that particular breathing strategies may be used as a tool to help people to manage their thoughts, moods, and experiences.