Your hands are cleaner than they've ever been before and you've caught up with all your favorite shows on Hulu, but your mind may still be racing. With news intake on overwhelm and fears running high, even those who are generally calm, cool, and collected, may be feeling an uptick in anxiety.
In this blog post, I will offer you some insight that I have gained through my own personal experience with managing anxiety. I have not suffered from a full blown panic attack in many years, but did at one time in my life. I don't claim to never have scary thoughts or feel anxiety, but I attribute my ability to navigate difficult situations with clarity and awareness to the fact that I have a strong self-care practice which I can pull tools from when I need them. I incorporate lessons from various physical, spiritual, and mental/emotional modalities, but one thing that shows up in all of these areas is breath work. Tuning into my breath has helped me through countless situations.
Breath is the Super Highway to Your Intuition
As soon as you become aware that you are feeling anxious or are in a state of panic, follow these steps:
Step 1 Mentally acknowledge the situation. I am feeling anxious. Note your surroundings. Are you in a safe place, or do you need to move yourself? For instance, if you are driving a car, you may need to find a place to pull over. Remind yourself that you have a tool to help you in this situation. It is your breath.
Step 2 If possible, put your feet flat on the floor. Sit upright with a long spine to allow your breath to flow efficiently, and place your hands on the tops of your thighs. These physical gestures send a message to your body that you are grounded and steady.
Step 3 Close your eyes if possible and start breathing intentionally. At first, you may need to just count the breaths you are taking to bring your awareness to it. Eventually, start consciously working towards your breath in and your breath out to be the same length. Take a brief pause in between your inhale and exhale both on the way in and the way out. When this starts to feel more natural and easy, lengthen the pauses so that you are breathing in for the count of 4, holding full for the count of 4, exhaling for the count of 4, and holding empty for the count of 4. Repeat this breath cycle for as long as is needed until you can feel your body returning to a more relaxed state and your mind feels clearer.
Anxiety is a Master Manipulator
The symptoms of anxiety can look and feel very similar to those of a heart attack. This makes it even more scary and can exaggerate the feelings of stress and fear-based thoughts. Your breath helps you tune into your intuition which will guide you to what your body needs. If you do not feel the symptoms releasing as you do this, or they are continuing to get worse, seek medical assistance immediately. The earlier you can identify how stress feels in your body and use this breathing technique at the first signs of it, the more efficient you will become at finding relief before you get to the point of panic.
Much love to you all in these turbulent times.