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Neuroscientist Explains How to Access Your Brain’s Reset Button

Try this breathing exercise to get through finals week!

Photo Credit Nidra|FreeBirds

A neuroscientist found a way to access your brain’s “reset button” by simply breathing.

Ian Robertson, Scottish neuroscientist, clinical psychologist, and Professor of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin, perfected a specific breathing technique.

He explained that breathing exercises activate part of the brain called the locus coeruleus. It produces something called noradrenaline.

Robertson explained to Michael Moseley’s Just One Thing podcast:

Noradrenaline is the brain’s equivalent to adrenaline for the body, so it’s a general preparation for action – arousal neurotransmitter. And, so, the way we breathe affects the carbon dioxide in our blood, and the locus coeruleus responds very, very precisely to how much carbon dioxide that’s in the blood at any particular moment.

It affects a person’s fight or flight network, and the “rest and digest” system as well. Together, they affect every organ in the body.

Lauding deep breathing as “the most precise pharmaceutical you could ever give yourself,” Robertson says that one deep breath will give your brain a reset. The breath reduces the firing of the locus coeruleus, and reduces levels of noradrenaline.

Robertson continued, “[Reducing the levels of noradrenaline in the brain] is very, very important for clarity of thought for controlling our emotions and many other faculties.”

The professor also described the 4-6 breathing technique, when you breathe in for four seconds, and exhale for six, as a “perfectly safe and wonderful little, mini tranquilliser.”

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