One of the easiest ways we can bring our body and mind back into conscious action is deep breathing.
Simple, yet has profound and scientifically proven benefits.
Often times we can get swept up in story, habits or patterns. What I mean is simply a response that we unconsciously do.
Breathing is a simple, accessible way to come back to conscious action.
A little brush up on basic Anatomy and Physiology for better understanding.
We have our Central Nervous System (CNS). Part of our CNS is our Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which is responsible for all involuntary things our bodies do (i.e. blink, digest food, release hormones, heart beat, produce saliva etc..). Two parts of the ANS is the Sympathetic Nervous System which is responsible for our fight/flight/freeze. Our Parasympathetic Nervous System is responsible for our rest/digest.
Both the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic are crucial for our survival. The deal is, often times due to stress or perceived stress our CNS triggers our Sympathetic Nervous system sending us into fight/flight/freeze. Which means we are operating in neurological trauma and chaos.
Real Stress: bear attack, car accident, emergencies, near death
Perceived Stress: Arguments, jobs, relationships, money etc..
*i am not saying that some perceived stressors can’t trigger stress, what I am saying is that they are not life and death. Our Sympathetic Nervous System is in place to keep us alive. The problem is our Sympathetic Nervous System can’t tell the difference between what is going to kill us and what is not, it responds the same way.
One of the responses when we are in chaos/trauma/stress is our breathing gets choppy, erratic, and short. When we are in this response, we are unable to make clear, conscious decisions. Kind of like, when you almost get in a car accident and you swerve at the right moment and miss the car, and you didn’t even have to think about it. That response is great for real life threatening situations. It is not helpful in relationship conflict, work environments, or our typical day to day living.
When we notice that our fight/flight/freeze is on, the best thing we can do is get into our body. Our breath is the fastest route there. Our breath can turn our Parasympathetic Nervous System on and bring us back into rest/digest. It is here that we are able to make sound, clear and resourceful decisions.
First, before we get to the breath we need to identify what it is exactly we do, when we are in stress. For example, I start to get angry first, then I want to cry and my chest gets super tight…then I start to talk to myself or out loud and I get really defensive or argumentative. I will sometimes even get hot and sweaty.
Begin to notice what your responses to stress are. If you are feeling easy breezy right now, that’s excellent. See if you can think back to a recent moment where you felt stressed and see if you can recall what was going on in your body, physically, mentally, emotionally.
Once you identify those things, those become your signals that it is time to take a deep breath.
If you prefer to be guided with audio, download the FREE audio meditation!
Say it out loud or in your head:
Keep increasing my 1 count each round. Close your eyes if you are in a safe spot to do that. Place your hands on your thighs or over your heart.
Give yourself permission to start with a smaller count.
Be gracious. This is the first step in starting to recognize our unconscious responses to external stimuli.
It takes practice and consistency!
I would love for you to share this with someone you love and then share with me how this practice has helped you!