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In this blog, I’m going share three things you can do to move emotional energy, to transform stress, anxiety, and even depression so you can live light and free every day.
First, I cannot stress enough the importance of the breath. Not just your normal, everyday breathing. I’m talking about long, deep breathing, or what we yogis often refer to as 3-part breathing.
With 3-part breathing, we breathe deeply into our bellies, then into our lower lungs, and finally all the way up into our upper lungs. Now, the good news is we all came into this world breathing this way, but pretty much all of us forgot and have developed a habit of breathing very shallowly into our chests.
If you don’t believe me, check it out for yourself. Take a deep breath in and, chances are, your chest is going to move, but your belly is not. Again, this is simply a breathing habit we’ve learned. But here’s why that’s a problem.
When we breathe shallowly into our chests like that, we are actually stimulating a bundle of nerves at the solar plexus, which engage the sympathetic nervous system, or the fight or flight response.
So when we breathe this way, our bodies react as if our very survival is being threatened. This stress response essentially shuts down our digestive system, while kicking all other systems of the body into overdrive....the nervous system, the circulatory system,... everything gets agitated.
So just by breathing this way, we could be creating and building stress and anxiety in our bodies.
But when we relearn to breathe deep into our bellies again, we stimulate a bundle of nerves at the base of the spine which engage the parasympathetic nervous system, or the relaxation response. When that happens, digestion kicks back in and all other systems of the body relax.
So the quality of your breathing has a direct effect on your nervous system. Shallow chest breathing creates stress and anxiety....long, deep, belly breathing relaxes us and puts us at ease.
It can take up to five minutes for the relaxation response to fully come into effect but, honestly, you can start feeling the benefits of this almost immediately.
Therapists know this, which is why when they work with clients struggling with anxiety and even panic attacks, the first thing they teach them how to do is breathe, how to DEEPLY breathe.
Another reason the breath is your friend is that emotions, and emotional energy, travel on the breath. Remember, what I mentioned in The Truth About Anxiety & Depression, that depression is not an emotion, but is a result of suppressed emotion? When we restrict the breath or hold the breath, in any way, we are holding tension in the body. Remember that: if you are holding your breath, you are holding tension.
When we breathe deep, full breaths, that energy is able to flow through us and out of the body with each and every out breath. Long, deep breathing gives that energy a pathway out of the body.
So one of the most powerful ways we can move emotional energy is by breathing, by deeply breathing.
Also, the breath is the vehicle for vital life force energy to come into the body. In acupuncture and some other schools of thought this vital life force energy is referred to as Chi, in yoga we call it Prana, but whatever you want to call it, it’s that energy of vitality and aliveness that so many are missing.
Okay, so let’s say we are breathing deep, rich, full breaths but still, something happens and we find ourselves feeling emotionally triggered. What do we do then?
There’s a technique I want to tell you about called focusing.
When you recognize that you have an emotional charge around something, here’s an exercise that may help bring you almost immediate relief.
Let’s say the emotion you are feeling is sadness, or anger, or whatever it might be.
Pick one. Close your eyes, and practice that long, deep breathing I mentioned, and start to notice all of the places in your body where you feel that emotion....that energy. It might be spread out and dispersed. As you breathe and tap into that energy, start to gather all of that up into a much smaller ball of energy.
And then, breathe right into the center of it. Allow and welcome it fully. Just notice if there’s a message there in that ball of energy for you, or not...and notice what happens when you fully embrace it and breathe right into the center of it.
You may notice, after a couple of moments, that POOOOF!...it starts to disintegrate...it dissipates.
That’s because that energy, and our emotions, are temporary. We only suffer because we were never taught to work with that energy, and so we hold onto it, and it builds, and it accumulates, and eventually it can start to overwhelm us.
Until we learn to breathe right into the center of it, get whatever message may be there trying to get our attention, and then we allow it to move on, breathing it out on the next out-breath.
If it doesn’t dissipate, that usually means there is a thought that we have attached to that emotional energy...a story, a belief...some thought that is anchoring that energy in our bodies.
Now, I’ve got one more tip to share with you in this blog about how to set yourself free emotionally, but there’s a lot more I could say about this right here...how your thoughts could be keeping that emotional energy stuck in your body.
So in my next blog, I’m going to share with you 5 ways your subconscious mind is influencing the way you think and feel every day.
But first, here’s one other really powerful way you can move emotional energy so that it doesn’t accumulate, build, and get stuck in your body. And that is through movement. You have to move your body, every day. When you’re moving and being active, your more likely to be breathing, and we already know why that’s a good thing. But also when we move our bodies we are encouraging that emotional energy to move rather than getting stuck and staying stored in our bodies, eventually wreaking havoc on our mental and emotional states.
Obviously, I’m a big fan of yoga, because yoga opens the body and creates space, whereas some other forms of exercise are more about contracting, like weight lifting, for example. Now, I’m not knocking weight lifting, but just make sure you are also complimenting all of that contraction with something that allows you to expand...to stretch, and open, and create length and space in your body. That’s going to allow some of that emotional energy to move. And then again, combine that with yogic breathing, that long, deep, 3-part breathing I mentioned earlier, and you’re bound to start feeling lighter and freer, every day.
I hope this has been helpful. There’s so more I want to share, but again, I want to give you this in bite-sized pieces so you can integrate it before I give you more to chew on.
In my blog, How to Unlock the Power of Your Subconscious Mind, I give you a hypnotherapists perspective on the subconscious mind, how it influences how you think and feel, and how you can use this knowledge to change your life.
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