Remembering to take deep, calming breaths is not only good for your health, it also helps you to NOT become a target for a potential bully.
Breathing is one of the most important activities that we, as human beings, can take part in. You scoff and say, “We all breathe. We don’t have to think about it. Why make such a big deal out of it?” The focus of this article is not addressing the shallow-type breathing that most people utilize on a regular basis. Yes, that shallow breathing sustains your life force; however, it does not bring you any feelings of peace and well-being and wisdom.
On the other hand, when you breathe consciously and deeply on a regular basis, you will notice fountains of wisdom and answers to questions and problems that you had not previously considered. Einstein stated that we use less than ten per cent (10%) of our brain power. So how do you access that other ninety percent (90%)? Deep breathing is the vortex or gateway through which that access can happen.
An experiment to try
Try the following experiment. Think of any deep-seated question or problem that you have been struggling with. Try to think of an answer to that question. Write down your question. Write down what answers you are able to think of at the current moment. Now, sit back in your chair. Take three to five deep, calming breaths. This is most likely the type of breathing you typically do as you are falling asleep. Try this breathing exercise in one of these four ways and see which one feels the best to you inside and out.
1. Inhale deeply through your mouth and exhale deeply through your mouth.
2. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale deeply through your nose.
3. Inhale deeply through your mouth and exhale deeply through your nose.
4. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale deeply through your mouth.
Now that you have taken three to five deep, calming breaths, consider the question that you posed. Write down the answer to your question. Notice the difference. Very likely, your revised answer after practicing deep breathing feels right at a gut level and sounds extra wise and sound.
So practicing deep breathing helps you tap into that other ninety percent (90%) of your brain power. Think of the ramifications. You can solve problems. You can also improve your health. Scientists have proven that practicing deep breathing can lower your blood pressure, improve your circulation, and relieve pain.
Deep breathing helps with self-defense efforts
There is another wonderful benefit to practicing deep breathing. Think back to the last time you felt frightened about someone or some thing. Most likely, your breathing was shallow, erratic, and came in starts and stops. Now imagine that someone has grabbed you from behind. You want to call for help, but you find that your voice has failed you because you can’t really catch your breath due to how petrified you feel. Martial arts classes and self-defense classes teach that this is the very moment when you need to make time to take one to three deep breaths from your gut area (i.e., your diaphragm). Then make some loud whoop or sound or yell “Fire” to attract the attention of others. The perpetrator is hoping to grab you and rob, maim, or rape you without attracting the attention of others. Yelling “Fire” will generally attract a lot of attention. As the perpetrator feels the light of other people’s stares focusing on him or her, his or her grip may loosen where you can now break yourself free, or he or she might release you and walk or run away.
Fight or flight instinct
Another way to describe this process is that when your fight or flight instinct gets activated, often your breathing gets very shallow and erratic. Your reflex is to either fight back in some way or to escape in some manner. Your body is giving you the energy to attempt either process. If you can add deep breathing into the mix, you will find that you have greater reserves of energy to fuel whichever attempt you make. In addition, with the deep breathing comes greater wisdom. Your gut instincts will supply you with the best way to make your escape. Now that you are accessing that other ninety percent (90%) area of your brain, you will feel energized and wise. You will find that ideas flow to you that might not have otherwise occurred to you. Gavin De Becker writes about this very thing in his book called The Gift of Fear. As you tap into that inner wisdom, you suddenly seem to know whether you should call for help, pretend to fall, fight back, pretend like you fainted, turn toward the perpetrator as if you are planning to submit and then run, or other innovative techniques that will be the best way to survive this encounter.
Deep breathing helps you survive an encounter with a bully
So now, think about this. Your child has been approached by a bully. The bully may have called your child some mean names, or the bully may have visited some form of physical abuse on your child. Teach your child to practice deep breathing. He or she should take from one to three deep breaths at that very moment. Suddenly, the best method to survive this encounter with spirit intact will flow to your child’s mind. Better yet, if you and your family have been practicing many of the techniques described in this article series, your child will suddenly seem to know which technique would work best so that the bully feels less inclination to continue the bullying process and less motivation to bully your child in the future.
Other benefits of deep breathing
Another benefit of deep breathing and breathing from your diaphragm is that you have more fuel and breath in which to tell stories, give speeches, sing songs, and play instruments such as flutes, clarinets, trumpets, trombones, saxophones, and tubas. It also gives you more fuel and breath in which to take part in tumbling activities, dance moves, gymnastics, and any sport that requires physical stamina.
A fun activity for parent and child
To further reinforce the importance of using good posture, play these two songs about bullies. Learn the songs and sing them together. Practice the skills indicated in the songs to make your child much more bully-proof. Here’s the links:
1. Click this link for “Anti-Bullying song for kids #1: My Bully Buster Song” on rootshed.com
2. Click this link for Another Bully Buster Song on YouTube (Song is embedded within this article.)
Now that your child knows that practicing deep breathing can help him or her achieve a happier life now and in the long run, it may feel like a worthier activity to practice and perfect.
Please note: This article was originally posted in 2009 under the former publishing tool. When it was discovered that it had some missing links and videos, etc., I edited it and re-published it as you see above.
Return to Hub page for “Avoid Bullying with these 12 tips”
- Why Deep Breathing Helps by Mina Hamilton
- 5 Important Self Defense Moves For Women by Rebecca M. Jacobs
- 6 Steps for Self Defense by Bob Blackburn
- Optimal Breathing for Living Life and Loving It by Michael Grant White
- Gavin De Becker & Associates
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