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How do you cope when you feel out-of-this-world, anxious, and jumpy?
How do you cope when there are people everywhere and you’re emotionally stretched and ready to snap?
You don’t need to be delving deep into your feelings. At that moment, you need something powerful that works in an instant.
I’ll bet that you’ve tried a breathing exercise.
If it didn’t work for you, read on.
You can use your breath to relax and calm your body. I’m sure you’ve taken deep breaths before. Try it now and pay attention to how it feels like you’re softening into your body when you do it.
As you breathe in and out, and you move your body in tune with your breathing, you will feel slow and peaceful.
That’s your reptilian brain (at the top of your spine) responding automatically to your relaxed body.
It’s the part of the brain that monitors how your body is functioning and when you a take a deep breath that moves through your body, you are effortlessly and unconsciously sending a message to your reptilian brain that says “Everything is okay”.
When you are anxious, your reptilian brain is not feeling okay.
It is jumpy, stressed and often plain scared.
Breathing can change all of that.
All your arguing with yourself, your thinking, or talking to yourself will never be as effective as using your breathing to calm your brain.
Whatever you do, please don’t take your deep, slow breaths because you need to get rid of your anxiety.
Please don’t take this deep breath because you need to fix the awful feelings you have inside of you.
Unless, of course, you have been practicing breathing for some time.
Your brain works by using associations to link ideas together.
In your head, you’ll have a thought associated with a particular feeling. You may have a place in your mind that is associated with a smell. You’ll tend to associate a person with a feeling.
You never want to associate breathing with fear, but if you only do breathing exercises when things are bad, that’s precisely what’s going to happen.
Always start your breathing practice at times when you feel relatively okay.
When you have trained your brain to respond to your breathing, you can start to use it at difficult times.
For now, when you are beginning to breathe for yourself:
Take a long, deep, slow breath.
Say nothing, think nothing, let the feelings be
Take this breath because you are you.
Because you are alive.
Because you are doing what matters to you today
Take this breath just because you can.
Watch from afar as the air goes through your body.
Let your brain and body work together to do their magic.
Breathing deeply and slowly is the simplest, most natural habit you can develop that will effectively help you manage sticky, scary thoughts and feelings.
Find a breathing practice that you like and build it into your life.
I wish for you all the peace, the sense of slowing, and the calmness that comes from breathing.
If you’ve found this helpful, you might want to check out my free e-book Twelve Ways to Change Your Thinking. Just click on the book image below, enter your e-mail address in the form, and I’ll send you a link to download the book completely free of charge.
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I help my patients in many ways…one of them is to encourage small, positive actions. Investing in yourself (be it time, therapy … or this book) is an excellent first step. There’s no risk (I have a money-back guarantee) to you so you’re assured a positive outcome. I look forward to hearing your story of transformation! Read more about Dr. Sharyn
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- Dr. Sharyn