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Change How You Feel: Change How You Breathe

Emotions add flavor to life, but those same emotions can control our lives.  This PsychCentral article, Change How You Feel:  Change How You Breathe,  shows how we can manage emotions through changing our breathing patterns.

 

 

Emotional Suffering, Attachment and Awareness

In the Buddhist tradition suffering is caused by attachment – attachment to a person, an outcome, an image, a possession, attachment to suffering itself.  As most people are attached to something, we all suffer to greater or lesser degrees.  We suffer when someone dies, we lose a relationship or a job, when we perceive someone has betrayed us or we have lost face.  The suffering usually takes the form of sadness, despair, anger, fear or a host of other emotions we don’t like to feel on a regular basis.  It’s normal to resist such suffering, to try to push it away, get over it, deny it.  Awareness tells us there is a more profitable way. Read more

Use Your Breathing to Manage Your Emotions

For anyone who has difficulty managing emotions, a study carried out by staff from the University of Quebec and the University of Louvain demonstrated that breathing is one of the most effective ways to manage strong feelings.

The study, entitled Respiratory Feedback in the Generation of Emotion (Philippot & Blairy, 2002), involved two groups of volunteers. Group 1 was asked to produce four emotions (joy, anger, fear and sadness) through the use of memory, fantasy and by modifying their breathing pattern. During each emotion, scientists monitored and analyzed the volunteers’ breathing patterns – speed, location in the lungs, volume of air.  They used their findings to draw up a list of breathing instructions to go with each emotion.  Their findings might surprise people who believe emotions are set in stone and outside our control. Read more

Where Emotions Can Take Us – Infographic

Here’s a great infographic on the range of human emotion and the kind of behavior emotions can generate.   To enlarge it, run your cursor to the middle of the picture and click on the circle that appears.

Infographic on Emotions

Emotional Awareness 5: My Default Thinking Pattern

In my experience, emotions usually indicate something is afoot.  But that “something” is not always what we think it is.  And it’s not always as big or as little as we think it is.  Emotions are sign posts telling us we need to look deeper into ourselves and the situation that has generated the feeling.  The skill of Awareness does the rest of the work.  Awareness helps us uncover exactly what lies at the root of the feeling that troubles us so much. Read more

Emotional Awareness 4: Blinded By Feeling

Once we recognize the presence of strong emotion  and have named it, the next step on the path of emotional awareness is to recognize that this feeling, this joy or sorrow or anger that can seem all consuming, may or may not be a reliable guide to reality.

In the grip of emotion, this fact can be hard to reach.  If we feel this strongly, surely there must be a real, objective, verifiable reason.  And often there is.  Those footsteps behind us on the street may signal real and imminent danger.  But equally, the sound of footfalls might just mean someone is walking behind us.  Read more