We have all felt the panic over the past few weeks.
For most of us it passes, for some it is a more lasting, constricting, & affects us physically as well as mentally & emotionally.
When we panic, we go into survival mode, relying on our survival brain, the brain stem, which is programmed to help us act with flight/flight/freeze type responses.
As the survival brain does its job, it starts to shut down our upper brain which enables us to reason, problem solve, communicate & understand others better. This can be literally disabling. As the stress remains, so the emotional brain can shut down too, & we can become “switched off”.
What can we do to re-engage our brain? We can engage in a relaxing pastime e.g play an instrument, listen to music and breathe with focus. Breathing with focus helps regulate our heart, abdomen & lungs.
Here is a breathing exercise I use at the start of massage treatments with many of my clients to help them to start to relax & re-engage their brain:
- OK, take slow deep breaths
- make your outbreath longer than your inbreath
- imagine you are breathing into your heart
- keeping breathing deeply
- now think of either a happy memory, or of someone you love or something you feel grateful for
- hold that thought
- slowly relax your breath
Do this as often and for as long as you need to … in the dark hours when you are alone with your anxiety, when you feel your temper rise with your loved ones or after reading a social media post, after you read the news, when going into a zone where you feel more at risk, wherever, whenever … BREATHE.
The more you practice this the easier it becomes like any exercise & the more you enable your brain.
Stay safe, stay well, & stay in if you can, warm wishes, Nicolle