Overcoming Collective Trauma - Part 3

Breathwork coach Hande Oynar elaborates on the therapeutic effects of the powerful exercise.

August 10, 2023

Since February 6, we’ve witnessed a natural phenomenon turning into a natural disaster day after day. Now, we’re facing a devastating wreck – in every sense of the word. How, then, are we to recover as a society? How are we to experience collective trauma and mourning? In what ways can we take part in society’s healing? Experts from various disciplines shed light on these burning questions.

How do we begin using breathwork to cope with an extraordinarily stressful moment? 

Examine your body to check if there is any strain. Now, take a deep breath and release that tension. Lower your shoulders, relax your jaw, take another deep breath, and exhale. Turn your eyes away from the screen and look at your surroundings to focus on an objecPlease take a few seconds to examine it. It. Then take another deep breath and exhale slowly.

Now, move your wrists and ankles slowly and gently move your body. The simple act of movement soothes us if we’re anxious and revitalizes us if we are stuck in panic mode. Take another deep breath and slowly exhale. Deep breathing slows down the heart rate and calms the nervous system.

If only I could claim that the impact of this collective trauma (and the series of collective traumas we’ve been going through in recent years) could be alleviated with a breathing exercise, a donation, an election, or a magic wand. To participate in the healing process on a personal and societal level, we need to set an intention and focus on it in a disciplined and sustainable manner.

What are your thoughts on participating in collective solidarity rather than focusing on personal solutions? What can breathwork offer us?

People heal through socialization. We recover by preserving and improving our social ties, talking, laughing, crying, creating, and sharing. During the pandemic, we realized the importance of those above. We had to isolate ourselves for so long that we got used to being alone, even if it was unwilling. Now, in the face of such vast collective trauma, it’s best to be a part of communities to which we can relate.

Breathing is an exercise that can be performed at any moment to align ourselves, but when experienced within a circle or a group, it becomes more profound. What we share within this circle touches everyone in a certain way. The therapeutic effect of these exercises is multiplied within a group.