The Relationship Between Fear and Depression, Breath and Posture

How You Breathe Can Lessen Fear 

A recent study by Christina Zelano at Northwestern University indicates that breathing in through the nose as opposed to the mouth helps a person to respond more quickly to fear and knowing this can help you to deal with it. 

“We can potentially use this fact to our advantage. For example if you’re in a dangerous environment with fearful stimuli, our data indicates that you can respond more quickly if you are inhaling through your nose.” ~Christina Zelano

But, what I would add to this is that it is NOT ENOUGH to just breathe through the nose, but to BREATHE DEEPLY and FULLY. 

My understanding is that the first reaction of fear is to freeze the breathing mechanism – in other words, to hold the breath. This is the deer in the headlights syndrome while you are evaluating what to do (run/fight or stay in freeze). The fastest way I have found to discharge that fear is then to deliberately take a deep, big breath. Followed by other deep, regulated breaths, the mind quiets down.

Deep Breathing Lessens Depression & Fatigue Too!

As a former classical singer with NYC Opera and elsewhere, I noticed that deep breathing whether through the nose or mouth through the process of singing, dancing will process out the debilitating emotions of fear and depression as well as fatigue. While music also plays a significant part, I am sure this significant improvement has much to do with the increased oxygen reaching the brain. Classical singers while singing, for example, breathe four times as deeply as people at rest. Increased breathing and oxygen intake through any form of exercise will put you in a better frame of mind and in a more emotionally balanced state where you are able to think more clearly and make more rational decisions. 

Posture is Important 

Deep breathing is aided by an erect posture that allows the rib cage to expand. Then a person must train themselves to keep the chest still while breathing  deeper down that fully engages the diaphragm. This means that the belly moves in and out with each breath.

Good posture makes better breathing possible, and greater oxygenation of the brain allows a better processing of emotions. But posture is by itself relevant to mood and energy levels. Multiple studies indicate that good posture, holding the head erect and eyes looking forward rather than down [downward facing eyes puts a person into their emotions] lessens depression and fatigue! There are multiple such articles cited on the internet indicating that simply choosing to alter body posture to a more upright position is a quick shortcut to improve mood and energy levels. 

Copyright by Roxanne Louise. However, this article may be shared in free online sources only if this copyright notice and link to http://www.roxannelouise.com and http://unlimitedpotentialhealingcenter.com  are included with the content.  

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