Take a Deep Breath 2

Take a Deep Breath 2

FROM:  Steve

Here is another piece of helpful information about how to live a happy, healthy life.  The other morning when I sat down to spend a few minutes in quiet meditation I found myself  having some worry thoughts, particularly about money and my lack thereof.  These triggered some nagging feelings of fear and were pretty uncomfortable.  Sometimes they are pretty hard to get rid of.  Does this sound familiar to you? 

Well, when I do  my morning meditation I usually start with a few minutes of slow deep breathing.  I did so that morning and found that the worry thoughts and feelings of fear went away!  I found this interesting and rather surprising.  In fact, I played with this for a few moments.  I felt the fear begin to return when I stopped concentrating on slowing my breath and then fade away again when I returned to the slow conscious breathing.  This was pretty dramatic.  Now I had been aware that whenever I get agitated or afraid that my breathing gets faster and shallower and that just adds to the stressful feelings.  And then it dawned on me that when I consciously slow down and take deeper breaths, my bodymind starts to relax and I feel better.  I can actually do something to make the anxiety and fear go away! 

Do you have worry thoughts that lead to fear feelings that “bring you down” for however long you let them?  Well, here is something that you can do to take charge of the situation. 


You will find that fearful thoughts are incompatible with deep breathing.  Fritz Perls, the famous psychotherapist who developed gestalt therapy, said “Fear is excitement without the breath.”   In fact, have you noticed that when you are afraid that many times you find yourself actually stopping breathing– holding your breath?  The best thing you can do to ease the stress is start breathing again and try to take slow, deep breaths and you will notice a shift.  Your bodymind will release the fear and you may remain with a feeling of excitement which is just an increased state of awareness, but unburdened by fear.

So whenever you feel anxious or fearful or panicky and you notice your breathing getting faster and shallower (high in your chest), consciously slow your breathing down and let the breath fill your lower chest and belly fully like water filling a vase.   Notice how your feelings and even your thoughts “slow down” and begin to shift to something else, something that feels better and allows you to think more clearly (your brain & body are getting more oxygen).  Things don’t look so scary or stressful anymore.  Keep up the slow, deep breathing for as long as you need to and get on with your life–happier and healthier!!

Suzanne Kilkus, PhD

Suzanne Kilkus, PhD believes that being open to learning defines the ease of our lives. And that our capacity for giving and receiving love defines the depth of our lives. She delights in assisting couples and individuals in creating greater ease and more love in their lives and relationships. She lives, laughs and loves with her husband, Steve, in Madison, WI and can be reached at heartspace@charter.net.