Why does exhaling calm you


Exhaling can trigger a calming response in the body, according to . During deliberate slow breathing, or down-regulation breathing, actively exhaling emphasizes the calming response in the brain and body. When we ordinarily breathe, we inhale actively and exhale passively; slow deliberate breathing requires actively exhaling, which is associated with calmness. Emphasizing exhales can be done through techniques like physiological sighs or simply by noticing and prolonging the exhales more than the inhales 1.

Regarding the physiological basis, explains that when you exhale, the diaphragm moves up, causing the heart to get smaller and blood to move faster. This signals the brain to slow the heart rate down. Therefore, emphasizing exhales longer than inhales generally results in calming the system by slowing the heart rate 2. This physiological sigh has been shown to offload carbon dioxide effectively and relax the body quickly 3.

Enhancing Workout Recovery

Andrew shares the benefits of incorporating three to five minutes of down regulation breathing after a workout to enhance recovery. He explains how emphasizing exhales and slowing down breathing can shift the body into a calming response, promoting progress and adaptation.

Huberman Lab

Science-Supported Tools to Accelerate Your Fitness Goals | Huberman Lab Podcast

This practice is an example of how breathing techniques can regulate the autonomic nervous system and promote a sense of calm.


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