Breathe to Heal | Max Strom | TEDxCapeMay

Breathe to Heal | Max Strom | TEDxCapeMay

Translator: Rhonda Jacobs
Reviewer: Denise RQ Speaking about breathing is
one of the most counterintuitive subjects you could possibly talk about because normally
people don’t think about it as we don’t think about
blinking our eyes, digesting our food. These are not things
we think you need to work on, they just occur
from the autonomic nervous system. But breathing is different because there are also ways
to breathe intentionally; certain patterns of breathing
that change how you feel internally. I wouldn’t travel the world
teaching breath-work if it were even just
simply to help people relax. The reason I travel
to teach people how to breathe is because we now live in a digitally-obsessed,
escape-based society as you know. We want to call it the new normal, and there seems to be
a big push to accept it; however, we are unhappy. If you look at studies
on the level of happiness now, especially the medications that we use, we are not a happy society. We should be ecstatic;
we have a rectangle in our pocket that has access
to all the world’s knowledge, that has any entertainment
you’d possibly want, so why aren’t we ecstatic? The World Health Organization
has stated that by 2020, worldwide, depression and anxiety
will be the number one disability; that’s only four and a half
years from now. In the United States,
25% of women are now taking antidepressant medication,
anti-anxiety medication, or both; men are close behind. The CDC has declared that sleep dysfunction
is now at an epidemic level. Again, this is not an American problem,
this is a global problem. From Beijing to Berlin to Tel Aviv
to Cape Town, it’s the same problem. So, there are things we can do about it, and one of the things is to create
a daily practice of breath-work which is free, once you learn it,
and has no side effects, unlike a lot of the medications
we see on television where you see people wearing white,
running down the beach with billowing white fabric
over their head, laughing, with the dogs chasing them,
always a Golden Labrador (Laughter) as somebody talks about side effects including bleeding from the eyes, coma,
permanent impotence, and things like that. This is a worldwide problem; we need to take action in our own life because yes, we need a sustainable world, I agree. But we also need a sustainable life; we need a sustainable home; and we need a sustainable body. When I deal with executives
– I talk to groups of executives, CEOs, marketing people, and even corporations;
the entire corporation – it’s quite fascinating because most of them say
they can’t sleep, they have panic attacks, they are chronically depressed,
they get flus and colds all the time; what can they do? When I privately meet with the CEOs,
they say the same thing; they don’t want to admit it
in front of their workers, but the CEOs complain
about exactly the same things. People feel alone more
than they’ve ever felt in their life. This is counterintuitive, because supposedly,
we’re all connected now, through the Internet,
through social media, we’re all connected. But are we? Or are we actually
less connected at a deep level? There are statistics now that we like having
these tremendous kitchens. Everybody wants the granite countertop, the island in the middle, the stainless steel refrigerator, but we actually dine with our friends, we host people, 50%, approximately,
less than ten years ago. So we have these fantastic kitchens,
and we just use the microwave. (Laughter) Intimacy is something
we need to develop again, and the only way you can do it
is to actually be in people’s presence, and this is one of the powers of TED talks where we actually get together
in person again. It’s different than online, isn’t it? Videos are great, you can learn
from them – I learn from them – but it’s not the same as looking into someone’s eyes
and hearing their voice. We determine
whether or not we can trust people by how they look at us, how they stand. If you’re going to hire a babysitter,
you want to meet the person, face to face. So, for those of you who are doing well,
I want to ask you a question: will you survive your success? This is a question
that is very far-reaching, because so many of us, if we were very honest
with ourselves, we’d realize, I wouldn’t teach my children
to live the way I am. I wouldn’t say, “Go
to the best school, get a great job; but live on sleep medication
and anti-anxiety drugs. That’s the path I want you
to take son,” or daughter. It isn’t. That’s not what we want to do; it’s not what we want
to teach our children, but through our actions,
that is what we’re teaching them. It’s quite incredible. There have been some studies
done recently on breathing. Stanford Research Institute
had a great one about two years ago where they took people
with post-traumatic stress syndrome, combat veterans, who’d
been to Afghanistan and Iraq, and taught them yoga and breathing. The facilitator, Emma Seppälä,
who’s a Stanford scholar, said it was mostly
the breathing that affected them. We had them do this program
for three months, and their symptoms, post-traumatic
stress syndrome symptoms were gone, and they didn’t return, even a year later. This was groundbreaking
because as you know, the sad fact in the United States
is we lose 20 veterans a day to suicide. So the way we have been treating them
through mainly medication and therapy hasn’t really been working. This is a big step. The Defense Department is now
advocating breath and yoga for veterans. The Defense Department – just take that in for a second – is advocating breathing
and yoga for veterans; the Defense Department. Navy SEALS use breath-work
to help them focus and calm before they go into battle. Navy SEALS are not New Age cuddly people. Navy SEALS only use
technologies that work, they will not use anything else. So, benefits of breathing
as you may have heard – and when I say breathing,
I don’t mean what we’re doing now, I mean intentional breath-work – are focus, calm, non-reactiveness, which we could all use. Do any of these things sound useful? When I meet with people,
in groups or individually, I try to help them
create a sustainable life, and one of the first things
I teach them is breath-work. In mindfulness programs across America – I think 25% of corporations
have mindfulness programs. They unfortunately
often teach meditation first. Meditation is a fantastic technology. I use it, I teach it; no question. But if you take someone
who’s stressed out of their mind and say, “Now sit down and close your eyes
and don’t think about anything,” (Laughter) it’s not going to happen. They will sit down, and close their eyes,
and think about their project. So meditation is not wrong to teach,
but I think it’s more advanced. If you teach people to breathe first,
this calms the nervous system, this triggers fight-or-flight
to switch off, and rest-and-digest to switch on; then, people can sit and meditate
without a problem. I’ve learned something fascinating
about human beings through teaching breathing, because I could talk to you now
about oxygen and CO2; I could talk to you about chi, or as they say in Japan, “kriya ki,” the
life force energy that moves through us and can be regulated through breath but there’s something
more interesting that I found. Teaching people how to breathe
led me to a discovery: there’s a tremendous relationship between breath – the lungs – and grief. I want to tell you a story. This happened last year. I gave a talk to about 50 CEOs about happiness, breath, anxiety, etc. After the talk, I left the building, went down to the sidewalk
to wait for a taxi. One of the CEOs followed me out,
and he said, “Look, I’m 58 years old, and I’ve started having panic attacks
for the first time in my life, and when you’re a CEO,
having panic attacks doesn’t work. You can’t sit in a board meeting
and suddenly feel your neck get stiff, and a splitting headache come on, and you want to run
screaming out of the room.” He says, “I can’t have this.
What should I do?” I said, “When did
these panic attacks start?” He said, “Six months ago.” So what was my next logical question? Exactly. “What happened six months ago?” He said, “My brother died.” “You were close,” I said. He said, “Yes, very.” “You’re a workaholic, aren’t you?” He smiled and said yes. “After the funeral, you went right back
to work, didn’t you?” He said yes. I said, “You don’t have an anxiety issue,
you don’t have a panic attack issue, you have a grief issue. You haven’t grieved
the death of your brother. When you suppress grief,
which you’ve learned to do,” and you and I have learned to do, “if you keep suppressing it, and you layer it, as new grief events
happen in your life, it comes out in another way,
it comes out as anxiety.” I said, “Your anxiety, your panic attacks
are because of your grief.” He said, “What should I do?” I said, “Come to my workshop
tomorrow downtown, I’ll show you some breathing exercises.” He said, “Breathing exercises!?” I said, “Just come.” So he did. He wrote me two months later,
and he said, “No panic attacks. They’ve stopped completely. But I have been feeling grief, and I realized you were right,
I did need to grieve my brother.” So by allowing himself to feel the grief,
which we’re terrified of, the anxiety was gone. I see this all the time. The people that have the most anxiety,
that learn breathing exercises, almost immediately start to weep. You can time it, it usually takes
three to five minutes; sometimes, 30 seconds. If we ask ourselves, “Why is this? Why do so many of us suppress grief?” It’s because we’re taught to. Mostly, in an unspoken way, we’re taught that expressing grief
is socially unacceptable. If you think about it, we’ll express anger
much more readily than grief. We’ll shout at the TV screen
if our team is losing, we’ll yell at another car
and not apologize to the passengers in our car. But if you start crying
when you’re talking to someone, you’ll wipe the tears away
quickly and say, “I’m sorry, I don’t know
where that came from. I’m sorry.” And especially men, we’re taught,
“Never let them see you cry. It’s a sign of weakness and failure.” So that’s what we’ve been taught. On top of that, no one ever taught us
what to do when our friends are grieving, so we avoid them. On top of going through the grief event, our friends scatter,
they don’t know what to do, they’ve never been taught. They think they’ll make us feel awkward, so they avoid us, and so now we’re isolated as well. I think that if we came together, we would build stronger
bridges of friendship, we would create more intimacy, and you don’t have to say anything
to someone who’s grieving. Don’t try to cheer them up. Just say, “It’s going to hurt
really bad for a while. I’m not going anywhere. I’m here. This year it’s your turn. Next year it might be my turn. We’ll all get through this together.” That’s one of the chief things I think
we need to do as a society, and second is learn breathing exercises because it makes a difference
right away, not someday. When I go into a corporation, believe me,
if it didn’t work, they’d say… I say, “We’re going to do breathing work. It’s going to make you
feel better within ten minutes. Ten minutes. So, I have about one minute left, I’d like to try to teach you
one very simple breathing exercise. Please sit up straight.
Take your back off the backrest. And if you can, put your hands
on your side ribs. Make sure they’re on your side ribs.
Not your hips. Ladies, think bra strap.
Men, bra strap. (Laughter) About that high.
Not the front, the sides. I know you’re packed in close together. When you inhale – inhale any way you like,
make your ribs go out to the sides. Fill your chest. (Inhales) So your ribs stretch out to the sides,
not out front, out to the sides. And then exhale, sit taller. (Exhales) Again. (Inhales) Sit taller. Exhale. (Exhales) Bigger. Inhale. Sit up
and make your ribs grow out to the sides. (Inhales) Hold your breath. Exhale. (Exhales) Good. You can relax your arms, but keep imagining
that your hands are there, and this is a very simple exercise,
it’s an old yoga exercise, and Dr. Andrew Weil
is promoting it quite heavily now. It’s fantastic, you can do it before you’re going
into a difficult situation or after. It’s called the 4-7-8 breath. You inhale for four,
you hold for seven, you exhale for eight. We’ll do one round now;
we’re going to go at this speed. So make sure you’re sitting up
off your backrest. You’re going to inhale into your ribs, but to prepare, quickly exhale. (Exhales) Now, through your nose,
inhale to the count of four: One, two, deeper, four, hold; one, two, three, four, five,
six, seven, exhale, eight; one, two, three, four,
five, six, seven, eight; inhale, four; one, two, three, four, more, hold; one, two, three, four,
five, six, seven, exhale; one, two, three, four,
five, six, seven, eight; inhale, four; one, two, three, four,
expand your ribs, hold; one, two, three, four, five,
six, seven, exhale, eight; one, two, three, four,
five, six, seven, eight, inhale, four; one, deeper, three, expand, hold; one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, exhale, eight; one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight; relax. Quick breath in (Inhales) and out. (Exhales) In (Inhales) and out. (Exhales) Relax. That’s one of many exercises you can do. Once you learn them,
you can do this at your desks. People take cigarette breaks,
you can take a breathing break. Some doors only open from the inside. Breath is a way of accessing that door. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Breathe to Heal | Max Strom | TEDxCapeMay

  1. It would be interesting to meet the 600 plus persons here who gave this a thumbs down. May they find THEIR breath of air.

  2. Brilliant presentation and the voice and talking speed of this guy, superb!. My jaw felt on the floor when he told the story about grief since the same story happend to me. I will pay more attention on my breathing from now on and hope sincerely that it helps. thanks Mr. Strom

  3. Cartels, medical implants, torture technology, cops targeting blacks, no help for whistleblowers, exposing blacks to poison chemicals on PURPOSE, Genocide 2019 in full affect government pure created manufacturing illness,and crimes for new world order

  4. Thank you forma sharing those breathing techniques. Tried todo do ir. But ir was hatd at fiesta. Since I'm not usted to breath well. Un factor ,I hace problema when breathing.
    However, after two Trieste I couls really do the breathing exercise! I'm perplexed! Ty.

  5. Where do you concentrate the air during holding? If miss guided this can cause alot of damage like piles, hernia, etc.

  6. Breathe to heal but how worst Ted video I ever watched. People know what is wrong what needs to be done. How you do it is the importance. Don't find this educational.

  7. Seems like you overly simplified meditation. Also your not trying to just stop all thoughts, your welcoming anything and everything so you can observe them at their rawest form.

  8. Guys, just learn Pranayama. It keeps you in happy and healthy mood 24 /7.

    I have been doing it for last 22 years each day.. My health is absolutely brilliant. Each day , 1 hour it takes to practice 12 types of Paranayamas. My guruji is great Guru Rishi Prabhakar of Karnataka, India. 💐

    My anxiety at work was enormous and I learnt it to.eliminate that. It got eliminated in just 5 days. !! Never knew it's other enormous health benefits.

  9. Brilliant talk and agree! I have a mild form of MS and have had CPTSD but have helped manage it a lot by sleeping more, meditation and eating a more plant based Paleo diet ,no alcohol and have cut our sugar and use Stevia only. Yoga also helps. Having been into weight lifting throughout the 1980s and 90s and a fitness trainer in the 1990s, my MS was in remission for over 25 years and I've been able to keep it at bay by also taking lots of vitamins esp Vit D3 and other supplements! There's a direct correlation between the health of our gut microbiome and the brain. the mind /body connection! As well as our spiritual connection! There's much we can all do to not only help ourselves but help others as well around the world….spread the word! "let medicine be thy food and food thy medicine", "all disease starts in the gut"…Hippocrates who also recommended apple cider vinegar drinks! Guess he really knew what he was talking about. Too bad more allopathic conventional medical doctors don't realize this as they take the Hippocratic oath in medical schools! Thanks for sharing~

  10. I used to have chronic sleep problems and I have discovered that I was the cause of those chronic sleep problems shred all I have done to sleep every night and the fall asleep add a normal manner. Is I've eliminated my alarm clock and open my curtains. I wake up every morning at dawn I'm cool and collected. Sure I wish I was still sleeping. But once you wake up naturally you are not anxious. If you have to go to the toilet. Your heart rate increases so it's more difficult to get back to sleep. Most people don't know that their heart rate increases when they go number 2. I have mechanical heart valve I feel it and hear it so I know it's happened to all of us. Once you start waking up at dawn or at first light. You will not be able to stay up late and watch late night television you will want to go to sleep because you're waking up early in the morning without an alarm clock which creates anxiety about going to sleep when is it going to go off. Stop setting your alarm clock and that you have to get up in the middle of the night. Life is much better without my alarm clock. I used to be sick all the time and I always used to wake up 30 minutes before the alarm clock trying to figure out how I could sleep I would reset the alarm clock to make it another hour another hour and a half. Now I just get up and start my day and I feel wonderful. I have no anxiety about going to sleep because I know I am going to go to sleep because I am going to be tired at the end of the day. Waking up naturally is the key stopping sleep l o s s

  11. He could make millions recording relaxation recordings. Especially for falling asleep. His voice is sooo relaxing. And he’s incredibly kind.

  12. The connection between the lungs and grief has been known for millennia. His techniques are helpful and healing, but the idea that that connection was a discovery is a misstatement. The lungs function in large measure as the organ of letting go and grief (exhaling, ie letting go of air, letting go to grieve) in addition, of course, to receiving and holding (breathing in and holding the breath).

  13. When I think about the future, it seems more and more that the human condition/arrangement is graduating towards some interpersonal utopia, with kids learning how to drive at younger ages, affordable, valuable education becoming a lot more common, and maybe the odd freak occurrence of Marines and psych patients mircodosing and smoking joints together discerning what precisely Conrad meant when he said, "Life is short and art is long and success is very far off." We'll see.

  14. We need to connect to people in a physical way because it’s an exchange of energy. Great news on the PTSD results.

  15. Right about the meditation one needs to be in a certain frame of mind to start meditating once practice is established then the individual will use that as their go to.
    Is t funny how our Autonomic system managed all of the vital functions in our body but yet we have control on our breathing to a point. I think this is so we can tap into this resource to give our cells a higher quality of life otherwise why can we influence it?


  16. I did this exercise for about 7 mins after watching this and I feel happy at the end. Oh man I will be encorperating this into my life I have a bad nail biting habit since I was 4 and I am 29 now I am ready to work on this anxiety .

  17. Yeah…..all depressed… about addressing lack of vit D3 in all "depressed"? 120 ng/ml would solve this problem.

  18. I like his voice. However. As a very bad asthmatic I learned Buteyko breathing and it changed. My life. The emphasis is on reducing the breathing, shallow breathing through the nose rather than the mouth. The mouth CLOSED at all times. Deep breathing is not encouraged. It changed my life for the Better and. Saved me a lot of ambulance trips and tine spent in A&E.

  19. Just say “It’s gonna hurt really bad, for a while. I’m not going anywhere.” Beautiful advice.

  20. A great public speaker, speaking about an important and surprisingly simple means to reconnecting with yourself, in this chaotic world of environmental stimulus. If this man hasn't proven a point, then watch it again. If that doesn't resonate with you, then find a mindfulness meditation and learn to breathe. I lost my habit of tending to myself and the depression and anxiety that grew in its place nearly killed me. Medication, counselling, psychiatry, were nothing in comparison to the effects of mindfulness and breathing. Sometimes, the most effective solution is the one that you originally doubted.

  21. Last line "Some Doors Only Open from inside…" Is a punchline. Excellent Content & Voice. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Wow, Such a remarkable talk. I was clapping along. Breathing : The very basic of life process yet forgotten!

  23. This is the problem i have with Americanized yoga: its ethical nihilism. CEOs, executives, American soldiers: these are the people destroying the world . they deserve sleepless nights. Yes, even the soldiers. Travel to the places they've served. Every single one a wasteland called victory. If the system they serve hurts them, the economic and power incentives butressing it needs dismantling.

  24. I used to smoke through difficult times and knew it wasn't for me. Began to realize it was the conscious breathing that was helping rather than the smoking. When I concentrated on breathing without cigarettes I began to break the habit.

  25. I play driving simulator while listening. I already made sound of engine less noisy, but you are even more quiet than guy before you……

  26. Breathing and meditation have changed my life like nothing else. 100% verify what this man speaks is the truth.

  27. @10:25 that guy coughed because he noticed the 🍆 print on the speaker! Lol he must get very excited of this topic 😂😂

  28. So very good, thank you. Need clarity though: the bra strap isn't around the lower part of the ribs so can't visualize what he said there, lol; also do we breathe in and out through our mouth or nose, or does it matter?

  29. Very calming voice! I think the people who come see him, deep down mainly come back to hear his voice! Lol, just kidding! Your family is blessed to have you in their lives, man!

  30. Very good ted talk.
    Excellent speech, his voice is soothing as well which goes hand in hand w the desired outcome of this talk which is to calm you.

  31. Hey guys you know what you are doing here a great thing keep up the amazing content and Thabnk you very much Namaste have a great journey

  32. Should have taught the Veterans yoga before Afghanistan and maybe they wouldn't have murdered so many innocent civilians.

  33. Mindfulness is an anchant practice & a meditation! Vipassina is one mindfulness practice & the Buddha taught breathing as the basic meditation. It's not emptying your mind it's not placing a value and following a thought by refocusing on the breathing. Vet your facts straight before suggesting the DOD invented breathing practice. It's anchant. Give respect to the originators of the practice and stop watering it down as a medical invention, it's so much more but what do you really expect from the DOD? Do you even know what Yoga means?

  34. I myself have been practicing meditation and breathing for more than 1.5 years now and feel better than for a long time. I wish the US government started with meditation and breathing exercises, I'm pretty sure most wars in the world would end if they dared to test. After that, the rest of all governments in the world would follow, then humanity would probably cease its primitive bad habits of war.

  35. "And you don't have to say anything to someone who's grieving, Don't try to cheer them up. Just say that it's gonna hurt really bad for a while, and I'm not going anywhere. I'm here. This year it's your turn, next year it might be my turn, we'll all get through this together."

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