One of the single most important factors that influence mood, focus, and stress is one’s ability to breathe properly.
In a new study, forty participants were divided between a “breathing intervention group” and a control group. In the breathing intervention group, participants were trained to properly breathe using the diaphragm. After 8 weeks of practice, these individuals experienced a significant decrease in negative affect, an increased ability to focus, and a decrease in cortisol levels, which is an objective measurement of stress.
This study adds to the growing body of evidence that supports the importance of proper breathing. Diaphragm exercises are extremely valuable and should be a part of all exercise programs.
Ma, X., Yue, Z. Q., Gong, Z. Q., Zhang, H., Duan, N. Y., Shi, Y. T., … & Li, Y. F. (2017). The effect of diaphragmatic breathing on attention, negative affect and stress in healthy adults. Frontiers in Psychology, 8.