We offer a 10-session emotion regulation training focused on paced breathing that is intended to be added to other forms of therapy, including standard Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).
This training program teaches you to breathe at your optimal breathing pace (known as your resonance frequency), which increases your resilience to stressors, and your ability to regulate your emotions when triggered. Research studies have found that breathing slowly at the resonance frequency is effective at improving emotion regulation by activating the parasympathetic nervous system (opposite to the “fight or flight” response) and increasing physiological harmony. Optimal slow breathing results in lowered blood pressure and heart rate and a general sense of peace and well-being.
Breathing at the resonance frequency has a much greater benefit than breathing at a rate even slightly slower or faster. When you are at resonance frequency, your breathing is synchronized with the natural rise and fall of each heart rate cycle, which maximizes your heart rate variability (HRV) (increasing resilience) and activates the emotion regulation response in your body (calming you down). Therefore, it is important to determine your own individual resonance frequency, as it differs from person to person. Our training program utilizes HRV biofeedback to provide personalized data about your breathing patterns and heart rate cycle, enabling us to coach you to your optimal pace.
For a full description of resonance frequency breathing and its physiological effects, read this handout or view one of the videos below.