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5 things that helped me finally breathe during a breakup 

If you’re nursing a broken heart right now, I feel you. If you can’t breathe because the pain is so intense, I’ve been there. It’s a terrible place to be, but that’s why I wanted to write this article.

I used healing breathwork techniques, created by Brazilian shaman Rudá Iandê to help me during a particularly tough breakup, and while it didn’t take away the pain completely, it made it easier to work through it. I’ll be sharing that and more with you below:

5 things that helped me finally breathe

1) Practicing breathwork

Think about it:

Breathing is what keeps us alive, it’s so essential to our survival, yet we do it without a second thought.

And unfortunately, we don’t realize just how much breathwork can help our bodies and minds.

What do I mean by that?

Well, I’ve been following the teachings of shaman Iandé for a while now, and I’ve learned just how our breathing is connected to our emotions.

And, how at the root of all healing, breathwork is needed. It can help rebalance your energy, process pain, and even help as you heal a broken heart.

So the fact that you can’t breathe after your breakup isn’t a shock.

It’s your body’s way of processing the hurt, and it’s impacting your breath but you can change that, just as I did.

When I took part in the Ybytu workshop, in which Iandé has combined shamanism and breathwork to create an incredible flow, I found a different way to release my pain.

You see, I know how it feels to be completely broken after a tough breakup. I was struggling to move on from my ex until I started actively taking healing into my own hands.

And the first step was concentrating on my breathing…the rest of the advice in this article naturally followed suit and linked in with breathwork seamlessly.

So the best piece of advice I can give you to help you breathe again is to take part in the free breathwork video.

Let the stress and anxiety roll off you. Allow your thoughts to quieten for a while.

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Breathe power back into your body, and the healing process will finally begin.

2) Getting out into nature

If you’re wondering how a walk in nature is going to help you breathe through this breakup, all I can say is give it a chance.

Nature has incredible healing properties, and it’s very therapeutic to spend a day getting lost in the wilderness (or local park if you live in a city).

But, I get it if this doesn’t sound like a good idea to you right now.

You’re hurting. You don’t want to leave your bed, let alone your house.

But the truth is:

Wallowing in your pain is only going to make it worse. You’re not going to feel relief until you actively pick yourself up and make the decision to do something for yourself.

Quite recently, after a series of horrible events, including the sudden death of a friend, I felt completely lost. I knew I wasn’t breathing properly because I’d get caught up in my thoughts and feelings, and suddenly find myself gasping for air.

After a week depressed at home, I decided to go for a walk in the local forest. I got about ten minutes in, put on my headphones, sat on a rock, and cried.

I’m sure you know the feeling – hitting rock bottom and not knowing how to get back up.

But after a few minutes of sitting like that, sobbing hysterically (luckily no one was around) my senses started to pick up the smell of the pine trees. Little orange butterflies danced around. The breeze tickled my skin.

I focused on my breathing, using some of the techniques I’d learned from the free breathwork video.

I calmed down. I came back to life.

It was such a release, I almost physically felt the weight lift off me. I returned home feeling more positive than I’ve felt in the last few months.

I was grieving for my friend, you’re grieving the end of your relationship.

Heartbreak comes in many different forms, but a trip out to get some fresh air is guaranteed to soothe the pain, even if it’s only temporary. It’s a start towards healing.

3) Living in the moment

When my ex and I broke up, it was hard to live in the moment.

If I wasn’t running over all the details of our relationship and how it all went wrong, I was mourning for the future I had planned with him but would never experience.

So I understand that it’s tough to tune out those thoughts and be present.

Take it slow, as I did.

Here are a few things that helped me get out of my head:

  • Focussing on my breathing for a few minutes each day
  • Removing distractions like the phone or turning off the TV
  • Trying to identify my emotions and simply “sitting” with them
  • Identifying my surroundings, focusing on simple things like the color of the trees or the shapes of the clouds in the sky

Now, there was another way that helped me live in the moment; my cat.

Before you laugh at me for being a crazy cat lady, animals live for the now.

They don’t spend their days planning for tomorrow or thinking of yesterday. They’re just focused on whatever is happening right now in front of them.

I took a leaf out of her book and made it a point to spend at least half an hour sitting with her, watching the birds, listening to the sounds of the outdoors, and just being one with myself.

It was also a good opportunity to practice breathwork at the same time. I could feel my lungs opening up and as a result, my body relaxing.

It helped me calm my racing mind, and eventually, I found those pockets of calmness extended longer and longer until the pain became easier to deal with.

So if you have a pet, or even a child in the family (children are great for staying present in the moment), spend time with them and let your worries about the past and future melt away for a few minutes.

4) Exercising

This one is a no-brainer – exercise will make you feel better.

Exercise releases feel-good hormones, called endorphins. These endorphins work with the receptors in the brain, reducing the feeling of pain.

Including the pain of a broken heart.

So what type of exercise will help you breathe through this breakup? The experts at Shape have put together a few that’ll do the trick:

    • Yoga. This is perfect if you want to breathe slowly, stretching your body and releasing all the tension you’ve been holding in.
    • A HIIT workout. The ultimate distraction. Your breathing will increase tenfold, you’ll get sweaty, but you’ll also have a chance to work out all your frustration and stress.
    • Pole dancing. Pole dancing is great fun. Take your friends along, have a laugh, and feel sexy as you practice the moves.
    • Running. Running gives you a chance to be with yourself. Pick a pretty route in nature or along the beach if you can, and with every step, feel the strength and power in your legs and lungs.
    • Boxing. If you’re more pissed off than anything, box your way back to feeling better. Take out all that anger that’s suffocating you and you’ll feel better as a result.

As well as reducing stress and pain levels, exercising will also strengthen your lungs.

At times you’ll be out of breath, other times your breathing will be steady.

Be in tune with the changes in your breathing and pay attention to your breath when you calm down after working out. You can use this when you feel overwhelmed by your sorrow and you need to regulate your breathing and open up your lungs.

5) Practicing gratitude

I know it feels like you’ve got a permanent grey cloud hovering over you right now. It’s hard to be positive after a breakup.

But if you get into the habit of practicing gratitude, you’ll begin to see how many wonderful things you encounter every day.

Yes, there’s the big stuff – you’re alive, you have your health, family, a job or an education, a roof over your head.

But then comes the small stuff, the everyday occurrences that can lighten the load on your heart and help you breathe through the pain.

So how can you learn to practice gratitude?

Here are a few tips that helped me:

  • Start a gratitude diary/journal. You don’t need to write for hours, just list three things you’re grateful for every day.
  • Volunteer or do one kind thing a day for someone else. Gratitude is a two-way thing, you can also feel good by helping others.
  • Start saying thank you more often. Openly expressing gratitude makes it easier to internalize.
  • Spend time with loved ones. Just by being around their positive, loving energy, you’ll be reminded of how much you have to be grateful for.

Here’s the thing:

Gratitude reminds you of all the good things in your life, despite the temporary pain you’re experiencing.

Is it going to remove your suffering completely?

No. Nothing will except time and acceptance.

But it will help speed up that process, and when you start counting all the positive things in your life, you’ll feel that grey cloud lift slightly each time.

By practicing it daily, you’ll start to see the good in your life outweigh the bad. This is a valuable habit to learn for your mental and physical health.

Start breathing, start healing

I hope this article has given you a different direction to start your healing process.

Of course, eating plenty of ice cream, crying, and watching soppy films will be needed too, but if you want to do something for yourself and take control over your emotions, breathwork is the way forward.

Like I learned from the free breathwork video, you have power in your breathing. So much so, that you can regulate your emotions, release stress, and rebuild your broken heart.

The pain of your breakup will always be there in some way, but with a little breathwork practice daily, and the tips mentioned above, you’ll gradually work through it.

I’m thankful that now I’m in a better place in life – but I haven’t forgotten how breathwork helped me, and that’s why I want to pass this gift of healing onto others.

So the next time you feel overwhelmed with your pain, take a moment to sit, breathe, and feel life pulsing through you.

Here’s a link to the free breathwork video again. I hope it helps you as it did for me!

Written by Kiran Athar

Kiran is a foodie, writer and traveler. She considers herself a citizen of the world, who gets her inspiration from the people she meets along her journeys. She's currently living in Spain, where she spends her time writing, watching the shepherds and eating tapas in the mountains of Andalucía.

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