With the understanding that we are energy beings, I often talk about several types of fear: new fear, chronic fear, and deeply embedded fear. Traditional Chinese medicine doctors believe too much fear causes an energy imbalance in the body that leads to disease in the body and the brain. Releasing the fear or balancing the energy enhances memory and improves emotional judgments.
One thing that helps the energy flow in the body is breathing. When we are in fear, our breath is affected. Fear affects our brain and nervous system. In fear, we go into the sympathetic autonomic nervous system response associated with stress and anxiety. Our breathing becomes constricted and we breathe very shallowly.
To help us get out of fear and the sympathetic nervous system stress response, we can slow down our breathing and take deeper breaths. Slowing and deepening the breath is critical in reducing the pain during childbirth and associated with Lamaze training. If you focus and breathe slowly and deeply, the pain is less intense. I’ve had personal experience with this!
So we can regulate fear in the same way by changing our breathing.
Recognizing fear as an energy feeling in the body, we have the power to convert it into a more positive feeling. One of the greatest ways to do it is through breathing from the energy center in the stomach or whoever you feel the fear.
While you are breathing slowly and deliberately, you can direct the inhale and exhale to the area of the body where you feel the fear. You can focus on where the fear is and what it feels like in your body. It will most likely feel constricted and maybe like a blockage or wall of energy that is stuck in that part of your body. It will not feel good. If you breathe in through that area of the body (in your imagination) and also exhale through that same area of the body, you will be reducing the stuck fear energy there.
In addition, you can imagine breathing in love and breathing out fear. In this case, it is good to breathe out longer than you breathe in.
Surprisingly, you will feel a shift in the fear energy. The more you breathe consciously, the more you will direct the energy release from your body.
The rhythm of breathing creates electrical activity in the human brain or nervous system. Dr. Andrew Weil of WebMD fame is teaching 4-7-8 breathing. Inhale for 4 counts, hold for 7 counts and exhale for 8 counts.
Veterans with PTSD have been taught slow, deep breathing which has helped them with their anxieties. Navy Seals use intentional breath work to help them calm and be focused when they are in active duty.
Breathing intentionally helps to calm the nervous system and get out of the fight/flight response (sympathetic response) and allows the parasympathetic or rest and digest autonomic nervous system to take over.
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