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Copyright  2020 Institute for Organizational Mindfulness (IOM)

Day 3 - Regulating the Breath

Dr. Daniel Farrant
 

Daniel is a senior clinical psychologist, specializing in stress and anxiety in community mental health and university settings. His practice includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

Follow Daniel at the Skills Foundation on Soundcloud

Science has proven that yogic Pranayama (breath control) exercises are an effective device for calming the brain and body. Simply deepening and regulating the cadence of breath oxygenates the bloodstream and brain - dilates the vascular system, so that more blood flows more freely - lowers blood pressure - and releases muscle tension that creates inflammation and pain.

 

Most importantly, it switches off the sympathetic nervous system, which is designed to get us ready for “fight or flight”. When the system is running (and in today’s world, it’s liable to be “on” most of the day), we’re not only nervous and agitated, we're ingesting a steady drip of toxic hormones and neurochemicals. 

 

Regulating the breath quickly switches us back into “rest and digest” parasympathetic system. In this way, it’s the simplest and fastest route to reducing stress in the moment.