How can we make our nervous system our ally, not our enemy? We truly hold the power within us and it lies in connecting to our breath and releasing thought patterns that do not serve us.
First of all, it helps to let go of that internal judging dynamic of ourselves…the need to categorize and organize what we say and do as “right” or “wrong”. That takes up so much energy and only leads to exhaustion. Yes we need to be discerning and act accordingly, however we tack on so much extra suffering when we needlessly place on energy into patterns that do not help us in any way. So, let's smooth things out shall we?
How does one do that?
The best way to re-set any mental pattern is to retrain how you breathe.
Our habitual thinking is just that, habit. Habits can be reshaped. Reformed.
To form new habits we must form new new neural pathways in our brains and cell tissue.
Our habits become automatic. Our thoughts are a great example of this. On average we think 80-90,000 thoughts per day, 80% of which were the thoughts we thought yesterday, and if you aren’t intentional the majority of them have most likely fallen prey to the negativity bias that runs rampant in our society.
To invite a more coherent state into our being, we must re-train our brain, re-link our heart and mind through our breath and essentially re-pattern our thought process. It really is simple once you overcome the “this is not easy and this feels like work part”.
Sure, it takes a true desire to want to change, and overwriting the deep grooves in our minds and bodies can feel daunting in the beginning. It may help to work with a professinal teacher, coach or somatic therapist. Many of us would rather stay in our comfort zone, because at least it’s familiar - even if it does feel like crap.
Our breath is our most automatic AND most important function. We breathe somewhere around 22,000 times in a day, the majority of those breaths being unconscious and shallow. When we breathe in a shallow way we keep ourselves in a perpetual state of stress. Now it is a good thing that we are blessed with a fight or flight system for times when we really need it, but in today’s society our nervous systems are overloaded and tricked into thinking there is imminent danger around every corner, when in fact we’ve just created that internal state by being stressed out in traffic or even watching a violent movie. Our nervous system really doesn’t know the difference.
It’s a common pattern I see in almost everyone I put my hands on as a bodyworker. We are using our neck muscles to do the work our diaphragm and intercostal muscles are meant to do, we have chronic tension and even pain in our necks and heads, and forward slumped shoulders (hello text neck!). This perpetuates the whole stress cycle. This leads to fatigue, unclear thinking, aggravated respiratory problems and be a precursor for cardiovascular issues. (Not to mention the extra 10 lbs of pressure on your spine per inch your neck is flexed forward.)
reverse the cycle we must begin to breathe deeper and with more intention.
Shallow breathing makes stress a habit our bodies, and therefore, our minds. As much as we think and even feel our bodies and minds are separate… they are not.
Our minds run the same mazes our bodies do. (That’s why yoga poses are so great for repatterining and yoking our bodymindspirit)
Deep breath = relaxed body = calm mind. Flexible body = flexible mind.
(Flexibility takes practice.)
Please take a deep breath now as you are reading this.
Expand your breath down into your diaphragm and low and side ribs.
Do this for at least 5 breaths before you read on.
Diaphragmatic breathing can lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, relax muscles, decrease stress, and increase.energy levels. We are actually giving our heart a little massage because there are tiny threads of connective tissue that attach the diaphragm to the heart! How cool is that?
Deep breathing is an excellent grounding and centering tool that leads to heart coherence as well.
When we can learn to anchor onto our breath and mindfully re-train how we breathe, other habitual patterns can begin to shift with more ease ease well. It all starts with the breath.
Practical magic to reconnect you with your breath and make friends with your nervous system:
Grab your doTERRA Breathe Respiratory Blend and rub it on your chest.
(Pairing breath with aromatherapy and affirmation is a powerful shifter of energy and emotion)
How do I feel?
How do I want to feel?
What drains my energy?
What inspires energy and aliveness in me?
Figure out how you want to feel, place your hand on your heart and with each slow and deep breath invite that quality of energy into your being.
Pay attention and eliminate the activities and thoughts that drain you.
Replace them with actions and thoughts that support the desired feeling.
Start establishing this practice as a habit.
I invite you to join me in taking 5-10-20 minutes each and every morning to simply sit and be with your breath, your spirit, your life force.
Anchoring on this practice will change your life in the sense that when you lead your day from a calm and centered place, things flow with a bit more ease. Well things may not! But you will. You are more resourceful.
More grounded and centered.
Things that usually rattle your cage and get your nervous system triggered, will start to not illicit as much as a response in fact you start to find less and less irritating you.
Because from the inside out you are designing your energy, not letting the outside influence the inner.
One of the many lessons years of consistent dedication to showing up on my yoga mat and sitting in mediation has taught me is that how we breathe is how we live. The thoughts we choose to focus on dominate our reality.
I for one want to live a life that is FULL, SPACIOUS, ENERGIZED, FREE, SLOW, CALM, EASY and BRIGHT!
How do you want to live?
Please share this with your friends, because I would love to live in a world where we are all breathing a little deeper, being a little kinder to ourselves and extending that to others.
I’d love to know how breathing deeper makes you feel.
Please contact me anytime you are ready to simplify and empower your life through the use of therapeutic use of aromatherapy or meditation practice in your life.