Posted by: coachingparents | November 6, 2008

THE POWER OF BREATH: Election Help 2008


By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.

As our presidential election approaches, are you anxious
…depressed  …excited …discouraged …stressed out?  You may want
to try breathing better.  Because your breathing pattern has more
power than you may know.  It exercises more influence over your
physical, mental and emotional health than almost any other function,
except for the pumping of your heart.

We often think brain function is the most influential system in our
bodies.  But without breath, the brain rapidly stops functioning and
physically deteriorates.

Immediately after birth, the newborn must breathe.  It is an
absolute necessity.  The breath of life” begins at birth, sustains,
and nourishes us throughout life.  Learning to manage or control our
breath is an extremely valuable skill.  Harnessing the power of the
breath can lead you to be in control of your psychological/emotional
health and well-being.  Here are some influences of the breath you may
have never considered.

Another word for inhaling is “inspire.”  When we die, breathe our
last breath, we are said to “expire.”  Inspiration brings into our
bodies oxygen, the fuel we burn to maintain body energy vital to
movement and body-warmth.  When someone speaks with energy and
enthusiasm, we often characterize him/her as “inspirational.”  To
inspire others is to energize them into action.  They breathe
differently and use the resulting energy to move (motivate) themselves
to take action.  Each of us has been inspired to take some action.

Breathing is the only vital function that can be voluntarily
controlled or modified.  Or we can not consider breathing at all, and
our “unconscious” takes over and we don’t have to think about it. 
Actually, most of us don’t think about our breathing much anyway.  Too
bad.

Changing your breath pattern allows you to manage your anxiety. 
When we breathe from our abdomen’s in a deep, long and slow manner,
our anxiety is diminished.  Even panic attacks can be managed by
re-inhaling the carbon dioxide we exhaled in previous exhales.  That
is why it is often recommended to those in panic that they breathe
into a paper bag.

If you want to change your mood, change your breath pattern.

Meditators are keenly aware of the power of the breath.  They use
their breathing pattern to still their minds, relax their bodies, and
focus their attention.  Counting your breath cycles allows you to
become focused on a single activity.  And single-pointed attention is
a highly meditative mental state.  We are all familiar with the sigh.  Sighing is a large breath cycle
designed to release bodily tension.  Rapid abdominal breathing, or
panting, creates more of our body’s natural pain-killers, the
endorphins.  Endorphins are partially responsible for the “runner’s
high” often experienced by athletes.  They also minimize the pain of
childbirth.  That is why women are encouraged to pant when giving
birth.

Abdominal panting can clear your head.  When you are mentally
fatigued, or have too many thoughts, you can refresh your thinking by
taking a minute out to pant.  This kind of breath control cleanses and
refreshes the body/mind.

Singers, performers and public speakers are taught to “project”
their voices through the use of abdominal breathing.  More than any
other activity, how one uses breath and body energy accounts for
personal charisma.  So if you want to become more appealing to others,
learn to manage your breath.  Have you ever seen someone so beautiful
and charismatic he/she “took your breath away?”

Hopefully, you can begin to understand the invaluable skill of
breath control.  You can exercise more power and influence over your
experience of being alive than you perhaps ever thought.  Learn breath
management skills and you learn life-management skills.

Keep in mind what Kabir, the fifteenth-century Indian poet once
wrote: “Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?  He is the breath
inside the breath.”  Learn of your own breath of Life and you may just
learn of the “breath inside the breath.”

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D. has 30+ years experience as a Life Coach and
Licensed Psychologist.  He is available for coaching in any area
presented in “Practical Psychology.”  Initial coaching sessions are
free.  E-mail: DrLloyd@CreatingLeaders.com or LJTDAT@aol.com.

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