Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/customer/www/houstonsun.com/public_html/wp-content/themes/Grouped/admin/main/inc/class.redux_filesystem.php on line 29
Learning to Breathe – Houston Sun Newspaper

Learning to Breathe

Commentary By Xyna Bell, Ph.D.


The breath is the most basic human requirement. At birth, the first question asked, “Is the baby breathing”? Our culture is replete with examples of the importance of breathing. Some of you will remember “Waiting to Exhale”, by Terry McMillan, or Toni Braxton’s, “Breath Again”; What about the movie “Total Recall” with Arnold Schwarzenegger, where people were controlled by cutting off their oxygen? I better change the subject, I’m dating myself.

The image of the knee of oppression pushing into Mr. George Floyd’s neck as he cried “please I can’t breathe, mama mama” evoked a primal fear response for a number of us. For AfricanAmericans it reinforced the knowledge, there is no safety for us. Our world view shifts, we learn that, “those that are to keep us safe”, are to be feared. The African-American experience is one of trauma and abuse at times overt, often covert. From a psychological standpoint, the fear response is over stimulated. Where can I breathe? Where is safety?

The fear response is wired into peoples’ nervous systems. The inability to breathe sends a signal to our brain that we are in danger. Our autonomic nervous system is activated. Its automatic, one has limited conscious control over just one system, breathing. Deep diaphragm breathing can be used to counter the fear response, it is learned and practiced. Breathing techniques are evidenced based fear management tools. In general, there are 3 types of meditation techniques: “1) Concentrative meditation is a focused awareness of a sound/thought/object/image for example prayer or focused breathing. 2) Mindfulness is an awareness of your breathing, thoughts, feelings and sensations as they arise. 3) Expressive meditation is active techniques such as chanting, whirling, exercise and dancing.” (Center for Mind Body Medicine)

I am an active member at Houston’s historic S.H.A.P.E. Community Center. While participating in the breathing skill that he learned at S.H.A.P.E. If you have a neighborhood community center or are active in organizations consider offering evidence-based stress management classes. The skills are useful for times of trauma and also times of distress, before a job interview or sitting in traffic. Pastor Juanita Rasmus of St. John’s Downtown’s radio station KMAZ 102.5fm radio station had a “breathing commercial”.

The African-American community grapples with the stigma of therapy. To see teeshirts that say Black Mental Health Matters or Jesus+Therapy, is a sign that we are aware of the need for mental wellness. The beauty of sharing information, resources, and experiences strengthens our connections which further enhances or mental wellness. Ownership of “safe spaces” will help to decrease the fear response and improve our ability to use our critical thinking skills, even more powerful when it is a collective.

If reimagined mental health wellness means that we speak to power to obtain the resources and programs that support the growth and well-being of African-American communities, than protest we must.

Xyna Bell, Ph.D.— is, among other things, a licensed psychologist with a clinic invested in community vitalization via membership in the Coalition of Urban Resource Experts (C.U.R.E.). Her practice provides outpatient mental health services. She is the 2019 recipient of the Association of Black Social Workers Community Service Award.

Xyna Bell, Ph.D.
2225 Hermann Drive
Houston, TX 77004
713 522 3015 (o) 713 522 3016 (f)
www.drxynabell.com

Facebook Comments

Spread the word. Share this post!

25 comments

  1. Greetings from Florida! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to browse your site on my iphone
    during lunch break. I really like the information you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.
    I’m amazed at how fast your blog loaded on my cell phone ..
    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, very good site!

  2. I jսst could not leave your website prior to suggesting that I reallу loved the standard info a person provice for your visitors?

    Is gonna be again steadily to inspect new pօsts

    Here is my weЬ site: car accident lawyer (Support-247.com)

  3. Hellο just wanted to give you ɑ quick heads up.
    Tһe teⲭt in our artіcle seem tto be running
    off the screen іn Opera. I’m not sure if this is a format iseue oor something tо do
    witһ browse comрatibility but I thߋught I’d рost to
    let yoս know. Thhe design look great though! Hope you get
    the issue fiⲭed soon. Kudos

    Take a lok at my site; caг accіdent attorney
    (http://forum.googlecrowdsource.com/)

  4. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an really long comment but after
    I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

    Here is my homepage … librarius.main.jp

  5. Thanks , I’ve just been looking for info approximately
    this topic for a long time and yours is the greatest I have came upon till now.
    But, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you sure concerning the supply?

  6. This piece of writing gives clear idea designed
    for the new users of blogging, that really how to do blogging and site-building.

    My web page; D-Fine8

  7. Good blog! I really love how it is simple on my eyes and the data are well written. I’m
    wondering how I might be notified when a new post has been made.
    I have subscribed to your RSS feed which must do the trick!
    Have a nice day!

    my website; IQ SuperCharged Review

  8. Some truly nice and utilitarian info on this web site,
    as well I believe the style contains superb features.

    Here is my web site; Dillon

  9. With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or
    copyright violation? My website has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is
    popping it up all over the internet without my authorization. Do you know any techniques to help protect
    against content from being ripped off? I’d certainly appreciate it.

    Here is my web site: walnut.ut.ac.ir

  10. There is perceptibly a bunch to know about this.
    I assume you made various nice points in features also.

    my web page – D-Fine8

  11. First of all I want to say wonderful blog! I had a quick question in which I’d
    like to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear
    your head before writing. I’ve had trouble clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there.
    I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15
    minutes are usually wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or tips?
    Thanks!

    My site Erorectin Male Enhancement Reviews

  12. I have been exploring for a little bit for any high quality articles or weblog posts in this kind of
    area . Exploring in Yahoo I eventually stumbled upon this website.

    Reading this information So i am happy to convey that I have
    an incredibly excellent uncanny feeling I discovered exactly what I needed.
    I most certainly will make certain to do not overlook this website and give it a look regularly.

    Also visit my web blog; Nature Fused Anti Aging Cream Review

  13. This is the perfect webpage for everyone who would like
    to find out about this topic. You understand
    a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally will need to…HaHa).
    You certainly put a new spin on a subject that has been written about for a long time.

    Excellent stuff, just excellent!

    my webpage :: Nature Fused Cream Review

  14. Hello there! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying
    to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good
    success. If you know of any please share. Thank you!

  15. I used to be suggested this blog through my
    cousin. I’m not certain whether or not this publish
    is written by him as nobody else understand such distinct about my problem.
    You’re amazing! Thanks!

    Also visit my web site; Xoth Keto BHB

Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published.