Updated: Apr 6
FEELING OUT OF CONTROL? UNCOMFORTABLE WITH UNCERTAINTY?… IT’S TIME TO START BREATHING!!
We are currently living in an uncertain world.
No matter what we do, no matter how much we try to ignore, or avoid, our lives are being dictated by the spread of the coronavirus. We are being bombarded with messages about symptoms, proper hand cleanses practices, and the physical repercussions of developing and spreading this virus.
My question is though…why is there no attention being drawn to the mental and emotional implications that can arise from being quarantined?
What is being put in place for those who feel alone, secluded, and closed oﬀ from those they love, and the activities they need to help them manage, and cope with the stresses of daily living.
What can we do to help ourselves maintain an optimistic attitude, during a time of such negativity?
I myself, am really struggling. I will admit…I am having a hard time coping with what feels like a prison sentence for a crime I didn’t commit. I miss my Dad, the hugs from friends that brighten my day, my job, the freedom of being able to leave my home without fear. I feel worried, overly emotionally, and restless.
I’m sure a lot of you may be getting caught up in what I call a “mind tornado.” That’s when your thoughts just spin around and around, damaging everything in sight, with no real rhyme or reason. You may be getting caught up in the “stories” of the mind, creating scenarios, situations, and outcomes that haven’t even occurred.
What if I told you your thoughts are simply just thoughts? They aren’t necessarily fact and may not even really require urgent attention.
We rely heavily on our thoughts to get things done. Our actions, behaviours, and emotions are dictated by our thinking mind. It’s when our thoughts cause aﬄiction, that we can get into trouble. Thoughts feed emotion. Emotion feeds action. Actions can feed thoughts, and before you know it, we get stuck in a vicious cycle, where we feel entrenched, enveloped, and out of control.
Our current state of aﬀairs is demonstrating that we in fact don’t have control over anything, which is leaving a lot of us feeling overwhelmed, fearful, and emotionally drained.
THE ONE THING YOU CAN CONTROL IS YOUR BREATH!
Now more than ever it is important to learn how to dissociate from the thinking mind, your external surroundings, and draw attention toward the profound space and stillness that rests within. It’s when we are quiet, that our minds are more open to unlearning habits that are harmful, and able to build a sense of acceptance of who we are, and what we are currently experiencing.
How we breathe dictates not only how we feel, but how our brain interrupts information. The state of our nervous system is a deep reflection of how safe we feel in our environment. Therefore, your breathing patterns are a mirror image of how you feel in the present moment. A shallow, quick, and stuck breath signifies a feeling of stress, and/or fear. A breath that involves the ribcage, diaphragm, and low belly signifies a functional breath, and a feeling of easiness, trust, and safety. Training yourself to breathe in a smooth, controlled, and even pattern can be enough to convince your brain that you are calm, and capable of coping with any immediate change that may be occurring in your environment, and in your own body.
Take a few moments RIGHT NOW:
Set yourself up in a quiet room where you won’t be interrupted. Lay on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet flat on the floor. Close your eyes and start to take some smooth nasal breaths. In through the nose, and out through the nose.
Draw all of your attention towards the sound of your breath. The moment you start to feel your mind wander, catch it immediately. Try not to get caught up in the stories of the mind. Come back to your breathing and stay with it as long as you can.
Start to dissociate from the thinking mind and connect to the changes that are occurring in your own body. Ask yourself, “does this thought require immediate attention?” If not, move back to the breath, and stay quiet and still for as long as desired.
Relaxation, like anything, is a habit. The more you do it, the easier it will be for you to fall into a relaxed state. By no means is this easy. For some it might be incredibly challenging, causing feelings of discomfort, and for some, even fear. Nothing is permanent. Everything passes. Trust that no matter what you may be experiencing, you can handle it, and you will be OK. Trust the process, and trust in your own inherent ability to calm yourself through the practice of breathing.
The next time you feel out of control, or feel overwhelmed with worry, take a few moments to control what you can…YOUR BREATHING!
If you have any questions about meditation, and/or stress management techniques, contact me at Jenn.Matthews@freeruninc.com