Heart Conscious Breathing
Posted by Sami Thorpe | 20th December 2015
Heart Conscious Breathing is the important foundation of any personal transformation work that we do, especially in Heart Conscious Healing. It is also a technique in itself that you can use to help in re-regulating your autonomic nervous system (ANS). Here we look at what happens to the body when in stress and how you can use Heart Conscious Breathing to bring you back to the present moment.
Heart Rate Variability
Regular breathing and attention to the heart regulates the pattern of your heart - your Heart Rate Variability (HRV). This in turn sends new signals to your brain and the rest of your body. This simple process brings you back to the present moment through the power of regulating your physiology, NOT by trying to use your thoughts and the control of your mind or emotions, which is almost impossible when you are in stress.
Fight, flight or freeze
When you are in stress you are in a different part of the brain; so thinking, reasoning, planning, being resourceful and creative are not really an option! In stress your priority is to escape or evade danger, fight to WIN (this is a 'do or die' drive) or if these options are not available, to freeze and fein death until the danger has passed. Sometimes after a freeze response you can go into fight or flight mode, still with the aim to evade the danger and get to safety.
No time for thinking
It is never a priority when you're in stress to 'have a nice think' about how you would like to respond. These responses are hardwired survival responses and happen automatically. Quite simply, you need to be safe from danger to be able to come into your full cortical thinking, so this is offline until you are safe.
During our early childhood experiences we learn what is safe and what is not safe. This is why different people respond differently to different situations - what one person perceives as dangerous (and therefore stressful) may not be how another person perceives it. The more we accumulate events that have not been dealt with and completed, the more stress can build up in the system because our body is primed to respond to many possible triggers or 'cues' to potential threats.
Being exposed to a life threatening situation means we 'hardwire' (like a short circuit response) the need to respond again in the future and this is why Post Traumatic Stress Disorder creates specific responses in the autonomic nervous system when certain 'triggers' alerts the system that there is a possible danger. Simple everyday things can become cues for someone to feel unsafe and need to respond. The person is 'back in the moment' of the original danger and adopts the original response.
Using Heart Conscious Breathing quickly informs the autonomic nervous system that the danger is 'not happening now' and allows us to become more in control of ourselves again, rather than being triggered into the response to a past event.
The ABC of Heart Conscious Breathing
A - Attention to the heart area (awareness)
B - Breathe in and out of the heart area
C - Connect with a feeling of appreciation for someone or something you are grateful for
This short video talks you through the simple Heart Conscious Breathing technique:
Just a few moments of Heart Conscious Breathing every day or when you really need it will give you the deeper ABC:
A - Alignment
B - Balance
C - Coherence
Remember, you cannot be in stress and growth/repair at the same time - give yourself time to replenish your energy, refresh your body and renew your true self.
Get back into the present moment with Heart Conscious Breathing.
To find out more about this and Conscious Health Practice check out our website www.conscioushealthpractice.com.