‘Meditate’ is the advice passed around for everything — from stress to depression. And with good reason. Past research has well established that meditation can improve your attention span in old age, reduce stress levels, lower risk of depression, and ease anxiety and improve your cardiovascular health. Meditating for just 10 minutes every day can help prevent your mind from wandering and reduce repetitive, anxious thoughts.
To date, however, no direct neurophysiological link between respiration and cognition has been suggested. A new research has explained, for the first time, the neurophysiological link between breathing and attention.
The research shows for the first time that breathing – a key element of meditation and mindfulness practices – directly affects the levels of a natural chemical messenger in the brain called noradrenaline. This chemical messenger is released when we are challenged, curious, exercised, focused or emotionally aroused, and, if produced at the right levels, helps the brain grow new connections, like a brain fertiliser.
In other words, the way we breathe, directly affects the chemistry of our brains in a way that can enhance our attention and improve our brain health.