Breathing exercise, behaviour and emotions are three areas that are closely related. Behaviour is all about how we manage or conduct ourselves especially in regards to others and Emotion is our feelings towards things whether they be experiences, someone else’s action or you name it… you can have an emotion or feeling towards anything.
Either behaviour or emotions can work for or against us but how are they related and what do any of these things have to do with a breathing exercise?
Lets look at something as simple as an everyday drive to work. Your in your car, sun is shining, your favourite tune is playing on the radio and your singing along terribly but full of glee. Suddenly the car next to you swerves across your lane, very nearly hitting your car, leaving you in some distress. Emotions of fear, anger and frustration flood to the surface and words your mother very much told you not to say start to flood out “justifiably” about the driver, their kids and what kind of female genitalia that they are. You aggressively shout them out at them, in your car under your breath or start thinking about how bad all drivers and how everybody needs lessons. Your hackles have risen, your blood boils, your breathless, your palms are sweaty and your heart rate has risen from the near miss. This has put you in a foul mood, making you feel even more agitated. Its looks a little something like this:
So what can we do about his whole situation other than making sure idiots aren’t allowed licenses? We could let it ruin our whole day, ruminating about it and how terrible everything is? We could try to adjust your emotions from someone nearly causing you an accident which wasn’t in your control? That sounds pretty damn difficult. We could possibly modify your behaviour and adjust those agitated thoughts and untoward words that you might have been using? Or there’s a third option. Change your physical response.
Working backwards through this diagram, slowing your breathing down reduces the physical responses from the incident. It slows your heart rate, your blood pressure decreases and it slows down your nervous system. This calms your behaviour down, cooling down any of those agitated thoughts. It lets your body know that you are safe from danger so those feelings of fear, anger and frustration start to even out. Your back now to the state you were in prior to the near miss. Your still in the car, unhurt and the sun is still shining.
Make the time to count your breaths and watch your behaviour and mood improve.