Fun Fact: Only 5 to 20 minutes of diaphragmatic breathing (belly breath) activates our relaxation system and keeps the reactive core of the brain (prefrontal cortex) from overheating. When we intentionally breathe deep many internal reactions happen to aid in mental focus, reduction of stress, increased joy and inner enthusiasm. Here’s how…….the abdominal cavity presses down on the Vagus nerve at the base of the spine. This nerve goes from the brain stem to the base of the spine.
Once activated the following happens …
1. Blood pressure, pulse rate, and respiration lower
2. Lactate gets cleansed from the blood (lactate increases feelings of anxiety)
3. Alpha brain waves are increased (calm and alert)
4. Neurotransmitter for serotonin is activated and released to the brain within 20 -30 seconds.
5. Activates and oxygenates the mindful thinking part of the brain (prefrontal cortex).
Voila’! No wonder deep breathing helps you feel better!!!!
Mindful Exercise: 1 to 5 minutes
Transition Breathing: Choose a time of transition throughout the day to just stop and take 5 to 20 deep breaths. For example I choose to transition breathe every time I get into my car and out of my car. Creating a mindful habit of short moments of mindfulness like simply stopping, breathing and being present for less than a minute, greatly increases your overall focus and awareness, in a very short period of time!
Here’s a talk from TEDxChapmanU by Stacey Schuerman about breathing, including a guided Mindful Breathing exercise:
Jessica Diktas is the Director of First Impressions at Fusion Academy Englewood, and author of “The Science & Practice of Mindfulness Curriculum” for Fusion Academy, Jessica is a graduate from Emerson College is Boston M.A. with a BS in Mass Communications.
Jessica was raised in peaceful Woodstock NY, and has always felt a deep connection with the body and soul. Since early childhood she immersed herself in the world of dance and creative movement. After graduating from Emerson College she quickly became a part of the Entertainment industry. Performing, instructing, managing and directing for MTV, New York City Dance Alliance, Nike, JCC, G.S.S Casting Agency and Club Med.
Over the past 15 years her love and compassion has turned to the practice of mindfulness, yoga and jewelry design as well. Infusing her love for people, creativity and mindfulness Jessica thoroughly enjoys working for Fusion, as it lends her the opportunity to fully be herself, and share her love and knowledge of Mindfulness with students and staff.