I LOVE simple and effective tools for getting "un-stuck" so stick with me for a few seconds while I extrapolate. When life gets sticky, heavy, icky or frustrating, situations have a tendency to get complicated. Really, the "complication" is just a side-effect of not being present - and forgetting to breathe! One of the most common complaints I get from patients is over-thinking: a.k.a. self-doubt, worrying - which can easily lead to anxiety, stress, insomnia and frustration. A common symptom is that these folks are forgetting to breathe. Think of what happens when you are stressed - you get tense and hold your breath. A few words from one of my favorite teachers, Sonia Choquette:
"It's almost physically impossible to be uptight and breath deeply at the same time. Try it and you'll see for yourself. Conscious breathing helps you stay in your heart and out of your head, and it raises your vibration level enough to be guided, even if your intellect doesn't have a clue what to do." -- Trust Your Vibes by Sonia Choquette
I want the people I work with to feel empowered to make significant life-changes on their own. Taking a few moments to catch your breath, close your eyes and focus on breaths that start from your lower abdomen, can be enough to change your mood, and even help you figure out your next steps in life. This is a portable, powerful and FREE tool you can choose to break loose from the sludge dragging you down. Start practicing now:
*Seated or standing (not important which), plant each foot on the ground (or floor).
*Close your eyes if possible, but you can practice conscious breathing with your eyes open. Quiet any distractions (if possible). This means turning off the radio, etc. As a way to challenge your calming breath-work, try doing this even in the loudest/busiest moments and places.
* Place one or both palms on your abdomen (around belly-button area). Eventually you can practice this without your hands on your abdomen. Most of us need a little help by using our hands at first though. These types of breaths are similar to how babies breathe naturally.
*Focus on deep breaths that originate in your lower abdomen, goal being to lift and lower your hands with each inhalation and exhalation.
*Count to 5 with each inhale/exhale.
*If any thoughts, criticism or voices come up to visit while you are breathing, simply acknowledge them - this means just observing and not judging them. Watch them float on like clouds.
*Apply this technique as needed.
Here's to your health!
-Holly Christiansen L.Ac.
About the Author:
Holly Christiansen, Licensed Acupuncturist, currently practicing in the gorgeous, horse capital of the world: Lexington, Kentucky.