Emotions, Breathing and Health Correlations To Guide Life and  Living

Emotions, Breathing and Health Correlations To Guide Life and Living



 "May my love for others continue to grow as I learn to acknowledge my true feelings and to accept the insights, benefits and consequences of my emotions."  Michael Grant White

I view the intensity and toleration of emotion is directly interdependent with the depth, ease, balance and flow of the breathing. Subtle sensing is greatly dependent upon breathing and whether breathing is in balance or not colors the senses, and vice versa. Attitude is extremely important as well and attitude can be changed by the way you breathe.

Hold your breath and try to feel intense joy or happiness. Impossible, isn't it? With the unobstructed breath there is "freedom." Breathing free really is yet another metaphor for life.

American Psychologist had an excellent article exposing the increasing evidence found in the scientific community regarding violence in the media and violence in society while the media itself ignores, denies or plays down the blinding evidence. The relationship is a strong one. There is overwhelming evidence that violence in the media does, in fact, cause violence in children and violence in our society. However, due to a variety of reasons (not the least of which is economic) the news media, both TV news and periodicals, continue to deny the evidence and sway public opinion to allow it to continue unregulated. Buhmand & Anderson (2001). American Psychologist, vol 56 (6/7), 477-489.

"The word proactive means more than merely taking initiative. It means that as human beings we are responsible for our own lives. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. We can subordinate feelings to values. We have the initiative and responsibility to make things happen." —Steven Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

We all have the power to create the life we really want to have. The key is finding the tools and support system that will help us to most easily and quickly bring forth from within our highest and best.

There is no question that emotions control hormone secretions and nerve activities that will either strengthen or weaken the immune system. Hormones and nerves are greatly influenced by emotions, which affect every physiological and metabolic function in our bodies. It is vital to work on eliminating resentment, anger, hate, fear, guilt, depression, greed and other negative emotions. I have found that visualizing one's self as perfectly healthy and happy can be very effective. Many healings (or spontaneous remissions) of death-dealing illnesses have occurred just from attitudinal changes that altered negative emotions and changed them to positive ones. Clearly uncontrolled emotions such as anger can be destructive to one's health. Exercise, optimal breathing practices and spiritual strategies can help transform this potentially devastating habit.

Your quality and level of intensity of negative or positive emotion is directly related to the way you breathe. Restrictive breathing patterns also support subconscious defense mechanisms in "stuffing down" unpleasant emotions. In fact, such unhealthy breathing patterns are often the result of previous attempts to cope with traumatic emotional or physical events dating back to as early as, or even before, birth. When feelings go unexpressed they are consciously repressed or subconsciously "suppressed" (i.e., stored in the body/mind as chronic tension). It is inevitable that unexpressed feelings/emotions are eventually expressed as pain and disease. Since feelings are a form of energy, which cannot be destroyed (as Einstein proved years ago) but can only change form, it is our responsibility to transform this energy before it causes disease in our bodies and/or minds.

See information about anger, stress and the heart Click here 

See “We CAN be the way we want to be” Click here

The more you develop and get in touch with your breathing and its relationship with your entire body, the healthier you can become and the more you can stay in touch with yourself and others.

"For every mental event there is a physical event, and emotion is nothing but a thought attached to a sensation. When you shift your attention from thoughts to sensations, you dissipate the strength of the emotion, because thought and sensation are no longer chained together. You can contribute to your attitude of not minding by just allowing your awareness to shift spontaneously to the sensations in your body—and then spontaneously to the thoughts and ideas that accompany those sensations."   — Deepak Chopra, Insomnia

Fear -

"When we're frightened, fear can hold us back from breathing optimally. Medical Intuitive David MacKenzie of Wisdom Rx, shares how, while riding his bike, he came face to face with his own fear of running out of breath." 


 Love, THE FEELING, is the fruit of love, the verb.

 "Reactive people make it a feeling. Hollywood has generally scripted us to believe that we are not responsible, that we are a product of our feelings. But the Hollywood script does not describe the reality. If our feelings control our actions, it is because we have abdicated our responsibility and empowered them to do so."

Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

You might say it is our thoughts alone that drive or dominate us. If our body permits it we can hold several different realities concurrently. Our focus, consciousness, intention or attention will choose which one or ones become dominant. If our breathing, the link to the mind-body-spirit integration, is somehow compromised, our connection to our mind-body-spirit center, or wholeness, becomes limited and even distorted. This is often because our nervous system has been pulled off balance or misdirected by our unbalanced breathing. 

Optimal Breathing Is in Many Ways Senior to Thinking 

From studying hypnosis we already suspect that reality is often what we think is so. But another level of awareness is how we feel and what we intuit. Intuition requires body-mind connection and healthy body-mind connection requires balanced breathing.

ESP is a matter of extra sensitivity. Watch the antenna of the breathing and see how it is connected to the sensing and feeling of the body. They are, I believe, interdependent. 

As children we hold or suppress our breath. Trauma and bad habits also make it shallow or distorted. Many of us reach adulthood with unbalanced or distorted breathing. This can distort our view of the world, keep us out of touch with our feelings and emotions, cause problems in our personal relationships, make us sick and sometimes want to (or feel like we’re going to) die. Breathing depth, ease and awareness are the foundation of your healthy "feelback" (instead of "feedback") system.


Anger can be associated with shallow inhalations, strong exhalations and tension to the body, especially in the neck, jaw, chest and hands. Guilt may appear as a restricted or suffocating shallow breath and an overall sensation of being weighed down.

Boredom might be associated with a shallow, lifeless breath and little sensation anywhere in one's body.

Grief can be associated with a sort of spasmodic, sobbing or superficial breath and a hollow, empty feeling in the pit of the stomach or belly.

Depression can be observed as a depressed or sunken upper chest.

Impatience can look like short, jerky, uncoordinated breaths and tension in the front of the chest with a slight bending forward of the upper body.

Restrictive breathing patterns also support subconscious defense mechanisms of "stuffing or holding back" unpleasant emotions. When feelings go unexpressed they are consciously repressed or subconsciously "suppressed" (i.e., stored in the mind and body as chronic tension). It is inevitable that unexpressed feelings/emotions are eventually expressed as pain and disease. Kathlyn Hendricks, a leading-edge movement therapist calls this "coming out crooked." Intense emotions also stifle digestion and peristalsis (i.e., muscular contraction that moves food through the digestive tract).

Expand Your Breath and You Expand Your Creativity and Possibilities

"There is a physical aspect to self-acceptance, just as there is to self-rejection. Watch a child fight not to feel what he is feeling. He tightens his chest and constricts his breathing. That is also what adults do. When you deny and disown, the first thing you do is stop breathing. When you accept, you relax and breathe into—you open; you do not shut down."  —Nathaniel Branden 

Many cannot physically let go while maintaining balance and internal power and that is what Optimal Breathing is about.

Do we need to pay a lot of attention to WHY we do these things that do not serve us? Perhaps, but not necessarily so. Patterns can be changed with focus and intention. A much more satisfying way of being is in choosing the way we want to be—the wellness model, not the way we do not want to be—the illness model, but in order to do that, we must breathe through any resistance to change. New ways of feeling, unfamiliar territory within our body, can cause anxiety, as the energy created from the new experience is "intolerable." (This would be Wilhelm Reich's way of putting it.)

Our body's resistance to excessive energy is, to us, often scary and unsettling. Our toleration for joy and happiness is limited and needs gradual increasing—a gradient approach. (I refer to this as "raising one's energy thermostat.") But when we do address it, we can change the way we think and feel so quickly that even one session of consciously directed breathing can be equal to years of formal psychotherapy. This is another reason why psychotherapists are fast learning how to use the breath as a tool for transformation. The Breathing Exercise # 2 (a.k.a., Tibetan Caffeine) is a dependable way to increase one's energy without it causing problems with energy overload.

Krishmamurti said, “Meditation is easy, we just complicate it." See here. And it is the same for feeling the way we want to feel. You CAN, in many if not all ways, choose the way you want to be. This takes time and intention. One's "nature" stems from the idea of natural. But one’s “natural” breathing pattern is not necessarily healthy. It can either be distorted or balanced and sequential. With conscious attention to your breathing, the lead horse in your team of horses called your autonomic nervous system, being "who you really are" becomes more aligned with your "healthy" nature. This nature needs the support of healthy breathing lest the lead horse guide the others towards the perils of mountain chasms or the glue factory. A primary secret of self-directed states of mind and being lies in choosing our thoughts and the way we use our breathing.

In the extreme, people with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) generally have accompanying disabilities. In fact, 69% of people with OCD also have additional disorders such as anxiety disorders, depression, or tic disorders. Haliburn, J. (2000). Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Vol 39 (1), 13-14.

Trust me in this. You CAN be the way you want to be. Never give up hope for that. Never. Think of the way you want to be and gently BREATHE into it, again and again and again. Let the out-breath be a letting go of tension and an expression of that new way of being.

Breath is life. I encourage everyone to study the breath. Try many of our different breathing-development techniques and exercises and see which ones work best for you. But be careful of the ones that may restrict yourbreathing and/or voice. The way you learn that is to develop your breathing and if the later technique of exercise does not feel right then you know not to do it. 

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