A Better Society Through Better Breathing
July 28, 2021, Publisher: Breath Hub
Born out of the idea of spreading UNESCO’s culture of peace, International Day of Friendship is annually celebrated worldwide since 2011 on 30 July. On the occasion of this beautiful day which reminds us of the importance of human values and social connectedness, we want to talk a bit about the relationship between breath and the connection we establish with ourself and our surroundings. In this article, we will delve into how we can breathe better to establish healthier and stronger connections with ourself and our social circles.
What is the connection between our breathing habits and social relationships?
Negative emotions like worry, stress and fear can profoundly affect both our inner world and social life. At times when we cannot control these negative emotions, our body often give a stress response. As a result, our breathing becomes shallower and we usually end up unintentionally holding our breath.
This decrease in the quality of breath makes it harder for us to deal with negative situations and stay centred and calm. We can be ruthless, judgemental and even affectionless towards ourself and the people around us. Holding onto negative emotions can make us impatient, inconsiderate and angry at ourself and other people. As we suffer more, we’ll be more likely to be desensitized to other people’s pain. We may begin to avoid people or constantly find ourself arguing.
Stress, worry and anxiety caused by the negativity in our relationships make it harder to cope with difficult emotions. In order to show love, respect and kindness to the ones closest to us – our family – to our social circle and all living beings, we first need to connect with ourself and heal our anger, hurt and disappointments.
Controlling our breath and regular breathwork offer an effective way of balancing our emotions at times of stress. Taking calm and deep breaths gives the nervous system the much-needed balance, as well as decreasing stress levels and calming the mind. That way, when we are triggered emotionally, we can pause before reacting, take a deep breath and respond consciously to whatever is happening. This habit keeps us from acting in a way we will regret later on.
How does breathing better help us connect with ourself?
- Breathwork is an excellent opportunity to open our hearts to love and strengthen the positive emotions – such as kindness, compassion and tolerance – that bind communities together. The better we breathe, the stronger our bond is with our self that loves each and every being. That gives us a chance to experience our kindness, tolerance and compassion every second of every day.
- Love, tolerance, compassion… In this depth of emotion and understanding, who we really are and how we feel about ourself and others come to the surface. Breathwork not only balances us physically and mentally but also helps heal the flow of prana – the life force. This healing ignites the positive human emotions within us, multiplies the energy of love that starts from within and spreads to the entire existence, and strengthens our connection with the world and life as we feel more love, calmness and happiness.
- Connecting with ourself teaches us to non-judgementally accept the positive and negative aspects of our personality and to learn to trust the healing power of our inner self. To connect with our inner self, we stop identifying with the thoughts passing through our minds. We focus only on breathing during breathwork, let thoughts pass through, and keep our attention on our body and emotions. This shift in our focus relaxes the mind that is hung up on what the ego is saying and creates space to experience the self. This deep connection with ourself can only be established in a non-judgemental mental experience. We let go of the past, the present and all our ideas about ourself and others.
In what way is breath awareness good for us?
With the awareness we cultivate by focusing on our breath, we learn to turn to our feelings with a calm mind and to pay attention to how we feel more than what we think. This attentiveness allows us to have more sincere insights into our inner lives. It also teaches us to stay calm and quiet during stressful situations in our daily lives. It acts as a shield – protecting us from negative emotions like anger, fear and disappointment that drain our energy and keep us away from our true self. What protects us from the adverse effects of these emotions is not preventing or suppressing them; it is allowing them to come and go. With the help of breath awareness, when we don’t hold onto things that are emerging or visible, the mind learns to be free in its own ground and stay calm even through the chaos of our daily lives.
Lama Palden Drolma ,Love on Every Breath: Tonglen Meditation for Transforming Pain into Joy