Diaphragmatic breathing affects how you respond to stress

The diaphragm is the main muscle for breathing and it’s innervated by the vagus nerve. Any movement of the diaphragm stimulates the vagus nerve.

When this happens, the vagus nerve releases a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter stimulates the smooth muscles¹ to contract, slows the heart rate, and dilates the blood vessels. In other words, the parasympathetic nervous system —rest and digest response— is activated.

diaphragm and the vagus nerve
IVC — inferior vena cava — is a large vein that carries the deoxygenated blood from the lower and middle body into the right atrium of the heart.
¹ Smooth muscles are involuntary muscles and line the insides of many organs such as the bladder, stomach and the intestines. They are responsible for functions like moving waste through your body as well as contracting the irises, and even raising the small hairs in your arms. 

The more you engage your diaphragm while breathing, the more the diaphragm moves, the more the vagus nerve is stimulated, and the more your body can turn off its stress response and glide into relaxation mode. 

With at least 20,000 breaths you take every day, it’s essential to know how to breathe properly.  Let's talk about engaging your diaphragm while breathing!

Stay healthy, stay happy.

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