PTS - Emotions and Breathing

The intensity and how we tolerate emotions is directly related to the depth, ease, balance and flow of our breathing. Restrictive breathing patterns support our subconscious defense systems by stuffing down unpleasant emotions – so is it any wonder that when we are dealing post-traumatic stress, constricted breathing becomes the norm?

When it has become the norm, even if not a constant, it makes getting in touch with pleasant emotions quite difficult. Try holding your breath and imagining intense happiness. It is impossible.

While we’d like to employ EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) to quickly resolve those stuffed down emotions, frequently our defense system stands in the way. Being mindful of breathing and other related physical responses is of the utmost importance if we are to achieve the greatest success. It can open the pathway to greater relaxation, as well as physical and emotional resilience.

Below is a brief excerpt from an actual session.

Due to the nature of the issue being addressed, Sue found herself suddenly struggling to catch her breath. She was stunned by the intense level of resistance to breathing she was experiencing physically and emotionally. It felt that if she dared to breathe naturally, she would be consumed by emotions, completely losing control. In that moment, the idea of relaxed breathing meant abandoning defenses, leaving herself open to heaven only knows what. This is not an uncommon phenomenon.

We began to tap:


Even though a part of me is afraid of what’s happening – fearful

– I am letting go of all my defenses, it is frightening, I have

every right to feel uncomfortable, every right to twitch, I’d like

to be able to trust, I’m safer than I dare to imagine.

The Sequence:

This part of me, afraid I’m letting go of my defense.

And it is really truly frightening

I have every right to feel this way.

But somehow I’d like to trust it might be ok to trust

That a much better defense system is forming for me now.

You’ve got to be kidding!

I can’t let this go

Because I don’t know what to expect

Fearful, my whole world could fall apart

How will I defend myself?

I’m loving and respecting myself anyway

Respecting self – trusting body, mind and spirit are working with me and won’t let me down.

Gently working to weave in some positives, I the used the words: “They all know..” to which Sue quickly and loudly responded: “Hell NO!” actually believing that’s what I had said!

Because incorporating client words, staying with them exactly where they are is essential to success, we immediately switched to:

Hell no!

Too frightening

Can’t imagine it

How do I dare trust?

Can’t do that

Won’t do that

You can’t make me

I might start to feel too comfortable

Afraid to feel to calm,

Afraid to feel too good

Something bad is bound to happen

I’ll let my defenses down