Anxiety is normal, a warning sign that something is wrong and that we need to be alert. During these troubling times, being vigilant is essential. However, we have to be vigilant in a way that doesn’t consume us, paralyze us, or have us act in some way that might be too reactive and without conscious forethought. In this series of blogs on anxiety, you’ll find conscious breathing practices suited for each Enneagram type, with this final installment on the Body Center types 8, 9 and 1.
Thanks to colleague and friend Peter O’Hanrahan for this!
As an EIGHT, breathing will help you do more than reduce tension; it will relax your position of hard strength to a deeper and more receptive strength. Focus on managing your breath appropriately to the situation at hand. Avoid “powering up” with chest breathing as an automatic response. Instead, practice breathing into your belly to calm down and relax, like taking ten slow breaths when you find yourself getting angry. Before you react to a situation, follow your breath and tune into what you are feeling and sensing on the inside. This pause will help you be less excessive, exhausted, and more flexible. When you experience having “big energy” in your body (and you likely do quite often), practice relaxing fully on the exhale, letting go of control for moments at a time.
As a NINE, breathing not only helps you reduce tension; it will enable you to move beyond your comfort zone and into action on behalf of your true priorities. Use breathing to tune into your body, your feelings, and your intuition. There is important information and guidance close at hand. Being in touch with your own internal experience will also help create boundaries. You will know better what you want and need instead of simply going along with others. Practice breathing into your chest area; this will increase your physical energy and vitality. Resist the tendency to lower your energy level by belly breathing only (thus, bypassing your chest) or by dispersing your energy through nonessential tasks, such as talking, eating, watching TV, etc.
As a ONE, you have to allow the experience and pleasure of the life force without trying to control everything or trying so hard to do it right. Remember to relax your diaphragm as you do De-Stressing Breath. Breathe slowly and steadily on your inhale, gently stretching out your diaphragm and rib cage. Then, let go and relax as you exhale, without either pushing outward or holding back from full release. If you are highly tense, try expanding or spreading your relaxing energy and experience all the sensations throughout your body. Or, switch to slow breathing in your belly, making sure to not stop your breath after it enters your chest area. If your tension persists, practice Counter-Anxiety Breath. You can also make movements or sounds as you breathe that help you release your tension and loosen up.
Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of six best-selling Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs for professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications, and is past-president of the International Enneagram Association. Visit her website: TheEnneagramInBusiness.com. firstname.lastname@example.org