Have you ever watched a scary movie, or an action thriller, and noticed you were holding your breath? Have you ever noticed how your body gets all tense up, and your shoulders practically touch your ears? And when the movie ends, do you ever notice your body relax a little, maybe you even let out a little sigh of relief?
“And breathe in 2-3-4, and out 2-3-4...”
Movies are really good indicators for me to see how my body reacts to stress. Stress that isn't even mine! I'm not the one jumping out of a building, or getting chased by "bad guys", and yet, I'm holding my breath the entire time.
This is an example of your body reacting to external stimuli.
But you have your own stresses.. Stresses that actually do belong to you (or so you think -- See description of Access Bars under my "services").
So, if your body reacts to a movie by tensing up the shoulders, and holding the breath, imagine how it reacts to your stress from work, your finances, your children, your spouse, and your life!
That's a lot!!
Your body reacts. And most often than not, it's in ways we don't notice until we begin feeling the symptoms we perceive to be related to a different cause.
We go see doctors for our back aches, our stomach ulcers, our chronic migraines. And we get medication to counter the symptoms.
** NOTE: Don't get me wrong, if you have aches and pains, and need to see your doctor, please go!**
What I'm suggesting here is to notice how your body reacts to daily stress. Are you holding your breath? Are you tensing up your shoulders while you write that very important email to your boss?
As I'm writing this blog, I'm noticing my shoulders starting to rise. So now I will take a deep breath and relax the shoulders. I will continue to do this until my shoulders don't tense up at all -- easier said than done, I know! But I'm being mindful of how my body is sitting. Are my breaths shallow and quick, or are they deep and slow? Are my lungs getting a full dose of air to send to the brain and the rest of my organs? Everything is connected, and everything can be observed if we take a moment to notice.
I welcome you to take a deep breath now! And breathe in 2-3-4, and out 2-3-4, yoga instructors are onto something here. And maybe take another deep breath and another, and continue taking long, deep, meaningful breaths. Because that's what keeps us alive and we should be a little more aware, and a little more conscious of us doing this basic thing properly. At least once in a while. I know it's not possible to think about your breathing all the time, but maybe, just maybe, if we put enough attention, for enough time, we can program ourselves to take longer breaths again. So that, when we're not paying attention, our bodies will remember to take that deep breath during that interview, or that exam, or that panic attack, or that moment when everything feels heavy and overwhelming.