NPR

A Tiny Spot In Mouse Brains May Explain How Breathing Calms The Mind

A cluster of neurons connects breathing and emotion centers in mouse brains, researchers say. If this turns out to be true in humans, it could explain how controlled breathing calms the mind.
It doesn't require yoga or meditation to destress by taking long, slow breaths. Source: laflor

Take a deep breath in through your nose, and slowly let it out through your mouth. Do you feel calmer?

Controlled breathing like this can combat anxiety, panic attacks and depression. It's one reason so many people experience tranquility after meditation or a pranayama yoga class. How exactly the brain associates slow breathing with calmness and quick breathing with nervousness, though, has been a mystery. Now, researchers say they've found the link, at least in mice.

The key is a smattering of about 175 neurons in a part of the brain the researchers call the breathing pacemaker, which is a cluster of nearly 3,000 neurons that sit in the brainstem

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