Breathing Yourself Out of Stress with Kasper van der Meulen

00:08 The breath is the remote control of your nervous system. And kinda the other way around. So as an organism you are built to respond to the world around you. So if you are in a stressful state, let’s say a direct fight or flight state. So something scary happened. Something bad happens. You need to run from a tiger, you know you’re a hunter-gatherer, you need to run away from a tiger. What happens is your breath speeds up first. Or your heart rate, but they always kind of like one goes and the other one has to follow because they’re interlocked. And then you breathe very fast because you also have a lot of work to do. You need to run from a tiger or a fight. You know the fight or flight system just gets you into this state where it’s like, Bam, let’s go and there’s adrenaline and your heart rate is elevated and all of this stuff is happening to make sure all these physiological processes to make sure that you can’t get yourself out of the bad situation.

00:53 And we’re very good at that because there’s a very high necessity to go into that state. But then on the other side, there is also, you know this rest and digest state where you completely calmed down and you sit down and relax and your breathing calms down, your heart rate goes down and you can actually digest your food. You can recover from whatever you needed to do in the fight or flight mode. So it’s like you have this on switch that we know very well and but we don’t really know her off switch and we keep ourselves in this elevated state. Most people are stuck somewhere in between and literally stuck. They can’t access their diaphragm anymore when they breathe.

01:29 They can’t breathe any slower than 15 times per, per minute, which means it’s a chronically hyperventilating. They’re constantly messing up their biochemistry with every breath and they’re keeping their heart rate elevated because here’s the thing, you can have an external stimulus that is causing you to go into fight/flight and then you need the energy and then you breathe faster. But on the other hand, if you breathe faster, you will have the same chain of events. And that’s where it kind of goes wrong with people where they have a stressful situation. They go into this active state, the fight/flight, they breathe faster, but then they don’t take the time to really deescalate from it. They never take the time to really decompress and relax and completely calmed down their breath because they lost control of their breath. And they keep, basically breathing themselves into chronic stress.

02:15 Because if you’re always breathing a bit fast, your heart rate is always going up, like more than it should be. You’re always expending more energy than you need to, you’re always keeping your ph level out of the ultimate zone, you do not have the optimal CO2 to versus O2 balance and you’re chronically keeping yourself in that state of, um, well, you know, cortisol and stress hormones, but also chronic inflammation. The formal practice that we, that I teach people is simply about getting them back to a more natural state. So we do like the Wim Hoff method breathing and different breathing techniques where you sit down in the morning and you do a set of hyperventilation techniques where you really actively relearn how to control your breath. Now that way of breathing is not optimal for your daily life. But it’s like um, it’s like you’re going to the gym, you know, you have a moment in your day where you really challenged the whole system of breath and you go through all the parts of the spectrum and then you return back stronger.

03:15 But if you’re living a natural life, I don’t think you’d need that because you become active if you need to and you become relaxed when you need to. And actually a lot of times, you know, like parents, they call me and they’ll go like, yeah, I want to have my kid do your workshop or your program or learn about this breath work stuff or even about the cold stuff. And, and I go like, could, could you just send the kid outside of his bare feet without a coat and have him play around and climb a tree, and you know, roll in the mud? And they go, like, what? No, that sounds dangerous. I go what? How does that sound dangerous? And, and then I tell them if, if you never hope, if they, if they can always do that, if you can always have your kids go outside and play outside and roll in the mud, and have fun and all of that stuff, chances, the biggest chances are that they’ll never need a method. They’ll never need to learn a system because they can just still do it.