I’ve written before in my Weekly Tips about the importance of breathing fully and deeply. Now I’d like to take it a step further and show you a four-step process for using the breath for healing your mind, body, and spirit. As previously noted, we have an innate tendency to hold our breath or breathe shallowly when upset, anxious, afraid, or hurt. Doing this allows us to feel those unpleasant emotions less intensely, however, it also traps those emotions in our body where they fester and create dis-ease.
Currently in American society, we have taken the very unfortunate approach to pain and unpleasant emotions whereby we numb them as much as possible. Certainly there are appropriate uses of pain medications and the like, but my opinion is we’ve gone way overboard to avoid feeling much of anything. This includes excessive writing of prescriptions, using drugs and/or alcohol to numb, other addictive behaviors including gambling and overworking, among others. This is akin to taking the battery out of the wailing smoke alarm. Much wiser to address why the alarm is going off in the first place!
To that end, let me share with you a four-step approach to using breathing as a way to not only learn why the smoke alarm is going off, but how to put out the fire so it stops! You can repeat these steps as many times as necessary to release the stuck emotions and free yourself up to fully feel and enjoy life:
Step 1: Pick a topic, an area of your life that needs attention, or a physical symptom or emotion you’d like to explore. Find a comfortable spot where you won’t be disturbed for roughly a half hour. Have a pen and paper handy and write your focus on the top of a page. Set the timer on your phone for 5 minutes. Begin breathing deeply into your belly, in to the count of four, and out to the count of four. Every inhale leads right into an exhale and every exhale leads right into an inhale; no long pauses between the two stages of the breath. Focus your attention on whatever you’ve selected. For instance, let’s say you have struggled with back pain…focus on the pain and breathe into that area, keeping your attention gently focused on that area. If your attention wanders, gently bring it back to the focus. Be the curious observer, just noting whatever is there. You may jot a note or two down during the 5 minutes or you might wait until the end of the 5 minutes to journal what you observe…either way is fine. Your primary goal is to keep yourself breathing; stay focused on the breath. When the timer goes off, take one more deep, cleansing breath and journal your experience.
Step 2: From whatever arose in the first round, pick a focal point for your 2nd round of breathing. You can, again, do 5 minutes or you might want to adjust the time shorter or longer to suit what you think will serve your process. Breathe again for the allotted time, noting what is happening with your new focal point. For example, continuing with the back pain from above, let’s say the back pain eased during the first round, but pressured thoughts of all you have to do arose. Focus on those pressured thoughts and breathe into them. Don’t try to solve anything; merely breathe into what’s there, allowing it to release on its own. Repeat rounds of breathing and journaling until you feel a sense of peace and non-attachment.
Step 3: Re-assess where you are at with the process. Do this by reading back through all that you’ve written and seeing if there are any loose ends that need tying up. If so, target that loose end and do another round of breathing. If not, scan your body from head to toe and see if there are any areas of discomfort. If so, target those and do another round of breathing. If not, move to Step
Step 4: Journal a bit about what you learned during this process. Keep these sheets in a folder so you can refer back to them periodically when something else comes up to be addressed. Use this process as often as you need to keep your emotions flowing and your body and spirit healthy!
If you’d like some assistance using this process, I’d love to talk with you about how we could work together. Get started by contacting me to schedule a FREE 15 minute Discovery Session.