6 Kislev 5778 / Friday, November 24, 2017 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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Stress and Shortness of Breath    

Stress and Shortness of Breath

Motivation and desire to free ourselves from limitation needs to come from a fertile nourished foundation. This productive foundation can be created with the breath...


The Chicken or the Egg
In this case it would be The Stress - Chicken, or the Shortness of Breath - Egg.
So which comes first, does stress cause shortness of breath or does shortness of breath cause stress?
The answer is both as we can see from the verse in Exodus 6:9.
"Moses spoke so to the children of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses because of shortnessof breath and because of hard labor."
Rashi explains:
"But they did not listen to Moses"means; they did not accept consolation, i.e. they despaired completely of ever being redeemed.
"Because of shortness of breath" means; whoever is under stress, his breath is short, and he cannot take a deep breath.
Conventional medicine has proven that stress is the cause of 80% of today's illnesses.
When someone is in a state of stress, he experiences shortness of breath.
Shortness of breath causes a lack of oxygen in the blood which causes muscles to harden and create a stress state in the body.
A stressed person usually breathes into his chest. Sometimes it’s so difficult for him to breathe that he will unconsciously raise his shoulders to make more room for air to fill his lungs.
Alternatively, a relaxed person breathes into his abdomen, using his diaphragm, and in this way he is able to draw air deep into his lungs.
Stress is an internal emotional state caused by the mental perspective of the sufferer.
He is virtually incapable of changing his internal emotional state due to his habitual negative interpretations of factual occurrences. He’s used to seeing things negatively.
The remedy for such a person is to breathe.
Once he learns to pay attention to his breathing, he slowly becomes 'inspired' [in-into/inside, spirare-to breathe]and is then able to change his internal emotional state.
Stress cannot dwell in the same place as inspiration.
As we can see from the Kabala;
“And Moses spoke so to the children of Israel, but they didn’t listen (The idea of freedom was alien)toMoses for shortness of spirit." What is "shortness of spirit"? Rabbi Yehuda said: they did not rest and they did not gather into themselves breath. - Zohar Va'eira 25
They were incapable of ‘inspiration’ to leave their oppressive environment because it had become habitual.
Inspiration requires calm and clarity.
Motivation and desire to free ourselves from limitation needs to come from a fertile nourished foundation. This productive foundation can be created with the breath.
The breath however, is only as effective as the breather.
Therefore, make the effort to practice your breathing.
An easy way to do this is to choose 5 minutes out of your 1440 minutes per day and sit quietly in a place where no one will bother you.
Set a timer for 5 minutes, no more and no less, for now.
Begin breathing with loud fast breaths through your mouth. Breathe in as deep as possible and out as fast as possible.
After 3 or 4 breaths, slow down by counting to 5 in-between each inhale and each exhale. Continue for about 3 or 4 breaths as well.
When you have finished, let your breathing return to normal and simply observe your body’s breathing process until the 5 minute timer rings.
Once the timer rings, open your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths. Consciously acknowledge where you are by looking around the room.
Do this every day, preferably in the same place and at the same time.
The results will surprise you.
Blessing and success,
* * *
About Shmuel Gavriel Tornek - Gavriel is an ordained Rabbi, NLP Master Practitioner and Life Coach, trained in KM-Kosher Meditation and a graduate of Reidman College of Holistic Health. His website is www.thinktov.com

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