How often do you let your emotions drive your actions? When you get in a disagreement, do you tend to lash out? When you’re nervous, do you let it stop you from moving forward?
Emotions are part of being human, but they cannot be the driver of our actions. We need to sit with them and experience them. There is nothing wrong with being angry, sad, or scared but if we let these emotions consume us, we will make decisions we will regret.
One of the biggest benefits of the ice and breathwork I’ve done over the last few years is strengthening my ability to allow my emotions to run through me without letting them drive me. I am not perfect and can still become reactive, but it happens a lot less than it used to. The same holds true for my clients.
As Wim Hof says, “The cold is a mirror to see if you are in control of the deepest part of your mind.” The first time most people get in the ice, myself included, they are afraid. Your “fight or flight” instincts kick in instantly and you want to jump out. The key is not allowing the fear to be greater than the danger. As you come back to your breath, your mind and body start to relax and you realize you can stay in longer than expected. The key is to stay focused on the next breath, then the next one and so on. Before you know it, you’ve been sitting there for several minutes.
Within an hour of getting out of the ice, you feel a sense of rejuvenation and your body begins to dump all the “feel-good hormones” such as dopamine. If you allowed your initial emotions to drive your actions, you would’ve jumped out and never experienced the positive changes.
With practice, you can utilize the techniques learned from the ice to have more control over your emotional reactivity in your daily life. You won’t get upset because of traffic or other drivers. You won’t become angry when a disagreement occurs with your spouse and you’ll have the chance to take a step back and allow your rational mind to help in responding to the situation.
You can start to strengthen this skill at home by starting with a cold shower. For example, before you get out of your morning shower, turn it as cold as possible and sit there for thirty seconds. Your mind and body will want to run instantly, but don’t! Slowly inhale through your nose and then exhale through your mouth for slightly longer. Try to use a ratio of 1:2 inhale to exhale with a slight pause after your inhale. Not only will this teach your mind to slow down you’ve also started the day by doing something uncomfortable. When other difficult tasks arise that you don’t want to do, starting the day like this will make these tasks a little easier. Try it out and let me know what you think.
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If you are looking for more individualized help, please contact me through my website www.symmetry.live I create individualized breath programs for my clients to help them achieve their goals. We have created an Introduction to Breath program that will help you become more efficient using oxygen, better handle stress and improve your sleep. You can purchase it here.
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