How many times in your life have you been reminded or guided to “just take a deep breath” in a moment of panic, frustration, anger, pain, etc? As reassuring (or sometimes annoying) as this suggestion can be, there is a fundamental truth to this piece of advice on how we can calm ourselves down and sooth our nervous system in times of distress or strong emotional upwelling.
I can live without my biceps. I can live without the giant quadriceps on the front of my thigh. But, I cannot — repeat, cannot — live without a diaphragm. Without even noticing, we breathe on average 20,000 times per day.