The importance of nasal breathing for mental wellbeing

The importance of nasal breathing for mental wellbeing

Nasal breathing is a natural and instinctive process that plays a fundamental role in maintaining mental well-being. While breathing through the nose is essential for delivering oxygen to the body, it also has profound effects on the mind, emotions, and overall mental health. In this blog, On The Nose explores the importance of nasal breathing for mental well-being, highlighting how this simple yet powerful practice can promote relaxation, reduce stress, and enhance emotional resilience.

Nasal Breathing and the Relaxation Response:

Nasal breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, triggering the body's relaxation response and promoting a sense of calmness and tranquility. Unlike mouth breathing, which can activate the sympathetic nervous system and elicit a stress response, nasal breathing stimulates the vagus nerve and encourages deep, diaphragmatic breathing, leading to reduced heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension.

Regulation of Stress Hormones:

Chronic stress can disrupt the body's hormonal balance, leading to increased levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Nasal breathing helps regulate stress hormone levels by promoting optimal oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange and restoring physiological balance. By breathing through the nose, individuals can mitigate the effects of stress on the body and promote emotional well-being.

Enhanced Oxygenation and Brain Function:

Nasal breathing ensures efficient oxygenation of the brain, which is essential for cognitive function, mood regulation, and mental clarity. The nasal passages are lined with specialised cells that produce nitric oxide, a molecule that helps dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow to the brain. By breathing through the nose, individuals can enhance oxygen delivery to the brain, resulting in improved focus, concentration, and emotional stability.

Reduction of Anxiety and Depression Symptoms:

Research suggests that nasal breathing can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. Deep, slow nasal breathing promotes relaxation, reduces physiological arousal, and interrupts negative thought patterns, leading to decreased feelings of anxiety and depression. Incorporating nasal breathing exercises into daily life can provide a valuable coping strategy for managing stress and improving mental well-being.

Promotion of Mindfulness and Presence:

Nasal breathing is an integral component of mindfulness practices such as meditation and yoga, which promote present-moment awareness and emotional resilience. By focusing on the sensation of air flowing in and out of the nostrils, individuals can anchor themselves in the present moment, cultivate inner peace, and develop a greater sense of self-awareness and emotional balance.

Incorporating Nasal Breathing into Daily Life:

To harness the benefits of nasal breathing for mental well-being, individuals can incorporate simple breathing exercises into their daily routine. Practice deep, diaphragmatic breathing through the nose, inhaling deeply and exhaling slowly while focusing on the sensation of air entering and exiting the nostrils. Additionally, engage in activities that promote relaxation and stress reduction, such as mindfulness meditation, gentle yoga, or spending time in nature.


Nasal breathing is a powerful tool for promoting mental well-being, relaxation, and emotional resilience. By prioritising nasal breathing and incorporating breathing exercises into daily life, individuals can reduce stress levels, enhance emotional balance, and cultivate a greater sense of inner peace and well-being. With mindful awareness of their breath, Australians can experience profound benefits for their mental health and overall quality of life.


  1. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. "The effects of slow-paced versus mechanically assisted breathing on autonomic and respiratory functions in sleep." 
  2. Harvard Health Publishing. "Relaxation techniques: Breath control helps quell errant stress response."
  3. Journal of Neurophysiology. "Nasal respiration entrains human limbic oscillations and modulates cognitive function." 
  4. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. "The effects of deep breathing on 'tension-anxiety' and fatigue in women with premenstrual syndrome."
Back to blog