Today I want to talk about self worth and how it impacts our breathing. Take it from me based on my own personal experience, but also as a trained Somatic Breath Therapist and Therapeutic Breathworker for 15 years I’ve been around the block a few times. But you don’t need to know that about me as listing off my credentials is part of the pattern of low self worth and so is breathing very shallowly.
If you think about what breath is at its essence- it is life. Vitality. Prana. The ultimate supreme force that keeps us here in this body at this time. Without breath- no life. But same is true that without life- without a deep zest for life, belief in ourselves and our own self worth, no breath.
Check yourself now and what volume your breath is. While it’s true our breath, regulated by receptors in the brain stem to balance the body does respond some based on how much energy we need in any given moment. Sitting reading- you don’t need a ton compared to running or exercising where larger amounts of oxygen need to flow through to keep the limbs moving.
But what happens with your breath when you’re feeling low self esteem? Notice it and watch it. For me (and I’ve seen this countless times in my clients)- a tightening, a heaviness, restriction, control of both the inhale- ie. how much life energy am I open to right now and my exhale- how much am I stuck on the limited self talk- think of being stuck in a ditch.
Thankfully more and more research has shown that deeper breathing helps to initiate the feel good centers of the brain and trigger the parasympathetic nervous system- that is rest and digest.
But what exactly does shallow breathing do? Think on this and feel for yourself. What I’ve seen time and time again- and yes, experienced myself- is depression and feelings of low self worth. Think on this when we are shallow breathing- we are literally cutting ourselves off from our true essence- the truest purest form of godly (or divine) love there is- or at least cutting ourselves off from vital oxygen that sends good messages to the brain.
If we hold our breath it mimics the sympathetic nervous system- fight or flight or freeze. And who can feel good when we’re afraid, trying to get away from something or frozen in our tracks? No energy.
So if you’re feeling low self esteem right now, or low self worth- as I believe there may be a slight difference- try to BREATHE DEEPER. Whatever it takes- hand on the belly, full flare the nostrils as you inhale, and then exhale out the mouth. Or pulse the breath with short bursts on the inhale 2-3 times like you’re filling a big cup and then again relax the exhale. If your mind is stuck, of course, exercise can really help to get us into that fuller breathing, too- but if anyone has ever faced “resistance” before (you know you “should” go work out but you really don’t want to) sometimes it is hard to get to our own side and simple breathing practices can really help.
Just know you are not alone, you can help your body help itself. Go get a few deep breaths and report back to me- how do you feel?
I think everyone right now is dealing with some form of issues around self worth during this time we’re in. But even though it is incredibly challenging to have real issues that may produce feelings of lack right now with work, community belonging, or food, (you name it)- the tried and true masters of the east- including Buddha himself- have always pointed us in the direction of the self. Inside there is a wellspring. An ever flowing fountain. When we can tap into that- and yes- a deeper breath will help get you there (modifying TS Elliot here)- all feels well, in all manner of things all feels well.
Breathe in fully. Breathe out release. And go forth in freedom and peace.
For more guidance on your own breath patterns, to learn to breathe more fully, and access more sustained connection to your boundless, infinite beauty with breath- get in touch for a 15 minute free phone consult and we can chat about your goals.
In light and service- Tania