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 installment on the Heart Center types 2, 3 and 4.
Thanks to colleague and friend Peter O’Hanrahan for this!
As a TWO, bring your attention inside to your needs, feelings, and sensations, following the physical sensation of your breath. Try not to think about anyone else, keeping your focus on you. Practice taking slow, full breaths down into your belly, as you tend to breathe into the chest rather than the belly and may feel cut off at the diaphragm. You may tend to suspend your breathing while waiting for a positive response from another person, so make sure to keep breathing. Send your energy down into your legs and feet in order to establish your contact with the ground. If you start to feel overwhelmed, bring your attention back out and notice things in your physical environment. You can also get up and move around. When you are with others, come back to your own breathing and internal sensations.
As a THREE, remember that the goal is to slow down and practice focusing your attention on what’s happening inside you; breathing is simply a way to do this. Take a few moments (or longer) to follow the sensation of your breath. Focus on breathing deeply into the belly rather than the chest. As a Three, you likely build up a lot of energy in your chest area. It’s important to soften your assertive stance and spread the energy around your body. Try to surrender as much as possible to the exhalation of the breath, letting yourself relax and let go. This practice is not so much about doing, but simply allowing the rhythms of the body. Here the goal is to feel the life force inside you without moving forward to accomplish anything. This will open up space for both your emotions and your emotional intelligence.
As a FOUR, you need to establish balance with your emotions and your relationships, and a focus on the breath and physical sensation will help ground you and connect you to the vitality of your instincts (gut). Focus on a balance between breathing in and breathing out. Practice taking slow, deep breaths and letting go when you exhale to release tension in the chest and diaphragm. The goal is to access calm, steady breathing that does not overcharge your system, but can be contained inside the body. Use the counter-anxiety breathing technique when necessary.
The next blog will focus on breathing practices for the Body Center types 8, 9 and 1.
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