Diaphragmatic Breathing


  • Inhaling into the abdomen as slowly and deeply as possible
  • Exhaling slowly and completely as possible while abdomen contracts
  • Focus on 4-6 breaths per minute for 15 minutes per day
  • A free app called The Breathing App can help


  • Help reduce anxiety, depression, and stress
  • Improves attention, enhancing sustained attention
  • Improved emotional regulation
  • Reduce fatigue
  • Increases heart rate variability (HRV) which is the measure of the variation in time between each heartbeat
  • HRV is an interesting and noninvasive way to identify Autonomic Nervous
  • System imbalances. If a person’s system is in more of a fight-or-flight mode,
  • the variation between subsequent heartbeats is low. If one is in a more
  • relaxed state, the variation between beats is high. In other words, the
  • healthier the ANS the faster you are able to switch gears, showing more
    resilience and flexibility.
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Improve pulmonary function
  • Reduction of sympathetic nervous system activity (flight-fight-freeze)
  • Increase of parasympathetic nervous system activity (rest-digest)
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased vagal tone
  • Stimulating GABA pathways from the prefrontal cortex and insula, inhibiting amygdala overactivity.
  • Reduction in release of cortisol which is the hormone that is released in
    response to stress; it is associated with depression, anxiety, and negative emotions and regulates metabolism, immunity, and some mental processing


  • 1-week intervention with 2004 tsunami survivors equivalent to traumatic
  • incident exposure therapy, with effects persisting at least 24 weeks
  • Adjunctive treatment for patients suffering strokes and cancer
  • A decrease in test performance anxiety in primary school students
  • Reduced stress-related physiological response
  • Increased cortical thickness and prefrontal-hippocampus functional activity


Campos, M. (2019). Heart rate variability: A new way to track well-being – Harvard Health Blog. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/heart-ratevariability-new-way-track-well-2017112212789 Ma, X., Yue, Z. Q., Gong, Z. Q., Zhang, H., Duan, N. Y., Shi, Y. T., … Li, Y. F. (2017). The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults. Frontiers in psychology, 8, 874. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00874