Suffocating Under It All? It’s Time To Start Breathing Again.
Do you feel like you’re suffocating under all the To Dos? Perhaps you’re exhausted and frustrated from repeating yourself until you’re blue in the face? Does it feel a long time since you’ve come up for air? Our language reflects what is happening at that deeper, unconscious level, in this case your autonomic system which controls your breathing. When you are stressed and feeling out of control, your breathing is much shallower. The more stressed you feel, the less oxygen you breathe in, the lighter your head, the less capable you are of making wise decisions. No wonder you are feeling suffocated and blue in the face!
The first thing to do once you become aware of what’s happening is to breathe the stale air at the bottom of your lungs out, and re-oxygenate your blood. Breathe steadily in for a count of 3, then double that as you breathe out for a count of 6. Count in your own time and in your own way, allowing each breath out to be like a warm waterfall of relaxation flowing all the way down your body. (If you’ve been crossing your legs holding on to a full bladder, please visit the toilet before doing this breathing exercise. You’ll be much more comfortable, and it’s safer!) Do the 3:6 ratio until you are feeling calmer and more relaxed.
Ideally get up and go for at least a short walk outside in fresh air to get blood circulating throughout your whole body. Focus on what you see, hear and feel around you – people, trees, birds, clouds, colours. In other words, be present and feel safe, rather than in your head full of primarily imaginary scary shoulds, if onlys and what ifs.
While you are out, or on your return, sit comfortably and focus on your breathing again. This time breathe evenly in for 6 seconds and out for 6 seconds. Count so it’s comfortable for you, with the focus being on the breaths in and out being the same length. The purpose of this balanced breathing is to reach a resonant state which allows your body, specifically your heart intelligence, to process emotions more effectively, and bring you back into balance. That is, bring you up if feeling down, and calm you if your levels of anxiety are too high. In a short time you’ll feel the difference, and notice how much easier it is to work and relate to others calmly and effectively.
Like any new skill, the more you practice, the easier and more effective it becomes.