What can you do with a 49 cent jar of bubbles and a heart of gold?
Impossible? Not at all.
I met Daniel Hamiel at a conference this year and heard his unbelievable story that was both touching, and inspiring. Daniel created a school resilience program in Israel where missile attacks, war, and natural disasters have become a fact of everyday life. This leaves children with anxiety, nightmares, fears, difficulties with school and sleeping, detachment, and social withdrawal. With this level of trauma everywhere, how could you hope to create balance in a child’s life in that environment?
Think about all the simple things we do to create balance within our lives. Taking time for yourself, exercising, eating right, balancing our work and family needs; as simple as it could be, it still doesn’t ensure that we do it, despite the fact that we know it works.
Not everybody in Israel has the opportunity to create this kind of balance due to the situation and environment in which they live. The country stays in a constant state of survival mode, where people are thankful for each breath they take. Breath is life. On a brief aside, did you know that research shows a high correlation between high blood pressure and poor breathing?
Nothing is more basic than breathing. We have to do it, but we don’t understand the impact that breathing can have on our well being. We don’t think about the physiological function that occurs, and the impact that breathing has on our heart beat. Did you know if you slow your breathe down, you can change your heart rate? If you change your heart rate you feel calmer. Breath can be a powerful tool and an easy one to master. Daniel Hamiel is teaching many people to breathe properly through a simple and readily available activity, blowing bubbles.
Bubbles, that is a flash back memory, two little boys running around blowing bubbles, fun times. We all have fond memories of blowing bubbles with our children, they cost next to nothing, and you can do it anywhere, anytime. But I never thought about using bubbles to teach people how to breathe. Think about what happens when you slowly exhale into a ring doused with soapy solution, a big beautiful bubble emerges. You are controlling your exhalation, probably to a count of six, and you are breathing at an optimal rate.
Daniel, along with a staff of three, has been to going into the school systems and teaching these proper breathing techniques to the counselors. In turn, the counselors teach the teachers, and of course, the teachers teach the children. The children teach the parents and their siblings. How simple can that be? Simple enough to work anywhere, anytime. Daniel is helping little by little to enact change and bring a small sliver of calm into a very turbulent part of the world.
We encourage you to learn more about your breathing patterns, visit www.drweil.com. Or, place your hand on your abdomen and count as you inhale and as you exhale. Try to get to a count of 6 to begin with, if you are full of air before you get to 6, then pause and exhale. Aim for 6 seconds of breath in, and 6 seconds out, resulting in 5 total breaths a minute. This is the optimal amount of breath for relaxation.
Get a feel for how you breathe, and try to bring some calmness into your crazy day.