Managing Your Emotions Through Breathing
Since our emotions are physical, breathing serves as an excellent technique that helps the physical body manage the emotions that arise within us. Breathing is very much connected to emotions and is a very simple technique that is accessible to all of us at any time.
Breathing is connected to our emotional states. It is our main tool to act on our emotions at the moment. Through breath, we bring more energy and oxygen to the body. These subtle changes in the body represent significant functional changes. Simply put, in a few minutes of breathing exercise, we change the chemistry of our body and thus our emotions. Each emotion corresponds to a physical state and a breathing rhythm.
Let’s take fear as an example. First, our heartbeat accelerates, breathing speeds up. And the body adapts to this alert. Our muscles contract, our pupils dilate, everything in our body is organized to defend itself. Stress, surprise, joy, sadness, anger: every emotion changes the way we breathe and our entire physiological state, but the reverse is also true. It is a great power to understand this.
Many basic breathing techniques influence our physical, emotional, and mental state, depending on the context. Deep breathing allows us to regain a state of stability and neutrality. As for the techniques of rapid breathing, they provide a releasing effect that helps to sublimate states of anxiety, aggressiveness, or fear.
To practice deep breathing, you need to use all your lung capacity. You will use the lower abdominal, middle, and thoracic parts of your body during this exercise. While breathing in through the nostrils, the abdomen must be projected outwards, then the rib cage is expanding to the sides, and finally, the chest moves upwards.
This allows the diaphragm to be lowered, and the rib cage to expand. The lungs are then filled with air. Keep the air in the lungs for a few moments, and then exhale. During the exhale, release the air in the opposite direction (chest, rib cage, and abdomen).
Practice several times a day, until deep breathing becomes automatic and natural. Deep breathing significantly increases our level of energy and vitality in daily life. You can use this extra energy to manage your emotions better when needed.
In a moment of stress or intense emotion, you can also apply this exercise and count, in your head or out loud, at the same time for inspiration, retention with full lungs, and expiration. You are counting 4 seconds to inhale completely, 4 seconds with keeping the air in the lungs, 4 seconds to exhaling. Using numbers to count will take you out of the feeling and back into a calmer and more rational state.
Techniques to Overcome Your Emotions
Techniques To Feel At Peace When Your Life Is Chaotic
There is a part of us that wants to find peace beyond all the chaos and distractions in our lives. We want to escape from all this or take control to create order out of disorder. We want calm, and we want peace.
But this kind of search for eliminating chaos and stress is usually not possible unless we go to the mountains and live in a monastery. So what can you do? The answer is to find calm and peace within the midst of the difficulties encountered.
One way to find peace is to try meditation. Find the time and space where you can sit quietly for a minute or two, and you can experience this now (even during your commute or at work).
Sit in a position where you feel comfortable. First, do a body scan. What sensations can you notice? Is your posture straight and relaxed? Then check your breathing. Is your breathing relaxed? Keep your awareness on your breathing for a few moments.
Next, shift your awareness to the whole room, including yourself in the room. Be aware of the environment around you while keeping your eyes open. You become aware of all sensations without labeling them. Do not judge anything, do not fixate on anything in particular, just observe.
In each of these steps, if your mind begins to wander in thoughts, notice it (without judgment). Then, gently return your awareness to the present moment, or of your breath. If you can relax in this observation state, come back to observing when you wander. Try it for a minute, and see if you can let go. Become aware that you don’t have to be involved in everything in your mind. You can operate in a way that it is almost like you are watching a movie or a play where you are an actor.
What I have found is that in those moments when you can do it, it is very calming. This is the feeling you can have if you stay in a state of observation with an open consciousness, with your sense of being connected to everything. Stay in that space of stillness as long as you can or want to.
If you can get a glimpse of this feeling of calm or in peace in the above meditation, then you can go back to that at any time you choose to do so. In a moment of feeling stressed, you can take a break and regain that sense of stillness. During an argument or in the noise of traffic, you can rest by meditating, by returning to this place of calm.
Be mindful that at any time of the day, you can access it. When you observe an emotion that triggered a stress feeling, hat you are stressed and feel a sense of chaos, go back to that place of stillness. It only takes a couple of minutes. Let go of your sense of self, just by being part of everything around you. Reconnect to the inner stillness.
Find a feeling of love and compassion for all the parts that suffer (yourself included, but also for others). Then, you can continue to do what you need to do at this time by carrying out your daily tasks but with a sense of stillness during the chaos. Be in connection with the infinite all around you, and experience a sense of peace as you take action. There is no need to walk away from chaos. It’s just a movement that you need to learn to live with! Every difficulty is an opportunity to find growth and master your emotions.