The whales have returned! Each year between April and November, on the East coast we are blessed with the sight of humpback whales. They migrate north each winter from their Southern Ocean feeding grounds to warmer waters to mate, calve and return. As we observe them what can from these magnificient creatures we learn?
1. Remember to breathe: whales are considered conscious breathers as they need to remember to return to the surface, to breathe.
Conscious breathing describes a soft awareness of your breath as it moves in and out of your body. This practice can help you achieve a state of calm and presence so you can engage more deeply with life.
2. Show compassion: In the last 60 years, there have been 115 cases recorded of humpback whales defending other species against killer whale attacks. It has been argued that the humpbacks do this out of compassion and empathy for other creatures.
There are numerous proven benefits of both self-compassion and compassion toward others, such as increased happiness, improved medical outcomes, reduced stress, and increased social connectedness.
3. Sing your own song: Male humpback whales have complex and ever-evolving songs that can last for up to 30 minutes. Each year a new song is produced.
Your voice is important, unique, and ever changing. Your words reflect this moment and your unique personality.
4. Relationships are important: tests have shown that whales have spindles in their brain, like we do, and that they have the capacity to communicate, form alliances and relationships, and cooperate with one another.
Humans are social beings – and the quality of our relationships affects our mental, emotional, and physical health.
5. Stay playful and curious: Whales are known to enjoy a splash they are playful and curious creatures. We are delighted to witness them breaching and jumping, slapping their tails. Whales congregate in groups and often play with other animals.
The brain’s chemistry changes when we become curious, helping us learn and retain information that might not interest us at all. Adult play has been shown to release endorphins, improve brain functionality, and stimulate creativity. Studies show that play improves memory and stimulates growth of the brain.