Is Our Attention Influenced By Our Breathing?

Research carried out in Trinity College Dublin has found that there is a neurophysiological connection between respiration and cognition. The way we breath can have a positive effect on our emotions and moods and recently the researchers from Trinity College have discovered the first neurophysiological connection between breathing and attention in the brain.

The research focused in on the locus coeruleus in the brain which is responsible for creating a hormone and neurotransmitter, namely noradrenaline. Author of the study Michael Melnychuk explains that when the human body feels stressed or sluggish we can’t focus either because we are producing too much or too little noradrenaline. There is a happy medium of noradrenaline where our emotions, thinking and memory are much brighter. The result of the study is that there is a link between attention and respiration that is adjusted through the locus coeruleus. Focusing in on our breathing can positively impact our attention levels which leads to the question if we are able to control our levels of noradrenaline through respiration. This study was published in the journal of Psychophysiology and leads to the question of whether or not non-pharmacological treatments will be available to people with ADHD or dementia.