80 percent of the fibres of our vagus nerve run from the body into the brain. This means that we can directly train our arousal system by the way we breathe, vocalise, and move. Learning how to breathe calmly and remaining in a state of relative physical relaxation, even while accessing painful and horrifying memories, is an essential tool for recovery.
When you deliberately take a few slow, deep breaths, you will notice the effects of the parasympathetic brake on your arousal. The more you stay focused on your breathing, the more you will benefit, particularly if you pay attention until the very end of the out breathe and then wait a moment before you inhale again. As you continue to breathe and notice the air moving in and out of your lungs, think about the role that oxygen plays in nourishing your body. Changing the way you breathe can improve problems with anger, depression, and anxiety.
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