Deep and regular breathing, also referred to as diaphragmatic breathing, helps to quiet the sympathetic nervous system and allows the parasympathetic nervous system—which governs our sense of hunger and satiety, the relaxation response, and many aspects of healthy organ function—to become more dominant. Conversely, shallow breathing, breath-holding, and hyperventilating trigger the sympathetic nervous system toward a fight-or-flight state.
In this state, our heart rate increases, our sense of satiety is compromised, and our bodies gear up for the physical activity that, historically, accompanied a fight-or-flight response. But when the only physical activity is sitting and responding to e-mail, we’re sort of “all dressed up with nowhere to go.” Our bodies are tuned to be impulsive and compulsive when we’re in fight-or-flight. We also become tuned to over-consume. In this state, we’re less aware of when we’re hungry and when we’re sated. We reach for every available resource, from food to information, as if it’s our last opportunity—pulling out our smartphones again and again to check for e-mail, texts, and messages.
Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (The 99U Book Series)
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— Charles T. Munger”
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