Your Number Story


Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Nadine Burke Harris talk ACEs.


The Science of Breathing

No doubt you’ve heard of the nervous system. It’s the network of nerves and cells that gathers information and generates responses from our body.


But did you know the nervous system is comprised of two parts that collaborate to determine how we respond?


On one side, the sympathetic, which prepares our body for fight or flight in response to potential danger.


On the other is the parasympathetic, which returns our body to a calm and relaxed state. 


In a healthy system, the two are in balance. In a nervous system that has experienced ACEs and toxic stress, the sympathetic is often overactive. And so our body’s reactions are sometimes out of balance.


We may sweat, our heart may be faster. We may feel the need to run, even when it’s not called for. Or we may be quick to anger, or become afraid or anxious.


But the body has a switch you can flip to help put your nervous system back in balance.


It’s called breathing. And there are many techniques that can work for you.


Deep breathing into the belly can act like a reset button, engaging the parasympathetic and returning your systems to harmony.


Breathing. Next time your nervous system’s response is overactive, give it a try.

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