Addicted to Breath

It amazes me, truly amazes me, how impactful taking two deep breaths can be on a person. It amazes me, how if you focus on your breath your nervous system and anxiety can be adjusted.

From a young age we are told when upset to take a deep breath. I can attest to this as when I’ve babysat or been around parents with infants crying they say exactly that. Actually, it is more of a question asked, but you know what happens?!

The child LISTENS! They listen, they begin to take a deep breath, they start to calm down and then are able to listen to what the parent, guardian, or babysitter are telling them.

Slowly over time being asked to take a breath became being told to take a breath by someone of authority if we were emotional. (I don’t say upset because we all have been told it in varying degrees). I would be lying if I said that I didn’t get fired up once in a while if someone told me to take a breath.

The difference is I have become addicted to breathing. I have become addicted to the way it calms me down, addicted that natural ability to defuse my emotions, addicted to the ability to take a natural pause.

After taking two different style yoga classes in the last week I became even more aware of this addiction. One instructor taught a basic vinyasa flow with guidance and focus on breath and movement. The second instructor taught at a much more advanced level and didn’t queue breath and movement together. While I embraced the challenge of the second one I almost walked out.

Then I remembered that I control my own breath. So instead of continuing with the rest of the class I allowed myself a minute. I sat back in child’s pose and focused in on my own breath.

In doing some more research I was re-educated on the fact that shallow breathing is tied to our fight or flight instinct. Shallow breathing is most often a factor/result of stress, anxiety, depression and fear. In taking deep breaths it allows the heart rate to become normal, better oxygen flow within your blood stream and helps release the tension within your body.

My breath has helped my anxiety and my fear. It has helped me take a step back from allowing myself to throw my hands up after one week and say “Okay I did it” and beg for my old job back.

Take two deep breaths, then see where you are.  Do you notice a difference in your heartbeat? Do you notice you feel a bit clearer in the mind? Your breath is entirely within our control, there is a lot we do not control in life, but this beautiful gift of breath is one that we do. Use it!

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Anxiety

Anxiety, is a very sensitive subject with many.  It has a wide spectrum of its debilitating effects on those lives it touches.  It has been a hot topic item with those around me lately and so I wanted to shed my own light on it.

In my own personal experience anxiety stems from my own fears and insecurities.  For instance, when my boyfriend and I had our first summer together he had a week where he was gone to be a camp counselor.  Despite knowing how much he loved me this week apart caused me a large amount of anxiety.  Add to the fact he would be traveling with one of his camp counselor friends who was a female – enter self-doubt!  I had anxiety about the trip because I lacked confidence in the fact I was loved.  I had anxiety about the trip because of my own insecurities from my past relationships.  My boyfriend was not the cause of my anxiety; my past and my own self-doubt were.

When I can realize my anxiety, and recognize it is occurring I choose to take a good hard look at myself.  I ask myself why am I anxious?  What is causing this?  In doing so I might realize that it is because I am having to present in front of a huge group of people.  This makes me uncomfortable and is causing me to be anxious.  It may be the fact that I haven’t said what I truly have felt in my relationship with a friend or my boyfriend.  Holding in emotions can be a huge anxiety trigger for many because we keep our emotions in so we are not judged.

Anxiety also comes from our environment and from those people we surround ourselves with and the people we follow on social media.  I believe to a certain degree that everyone is empathic and can pick up on other people’s energy that surrounds them.  I know that I am empathic and am capable of being drawn in by the energies of those around me.  Have you ever been in a good mood and then encounter someone who is very stressed out?  Do you sometimes start to then feel stressed out and you don’t know what’s causing it? It is huge to recognize what is your own and what is not, I have had to ask myself some days is my anxiety my own or someone else’s?

I also make it a point to follow positive influences on social media or individual’s I feel bring value to my day to day.  As feelings of self-doubt cause anxiety for me I do my best to surround myself with individuals who are “real” in their posts.  What do I mean by “real”, I mean an individual who will post the good with the bad and can share even when they aren’t “perfectly posed” because let’s be honest real life isn’t like that.  Even in my own group of those I interact with daily I have those who I can reach out to when I am having anxiety.  They will then ask me the question of is it yours? If it isn’t let it go, if it is why are you having anxiety?

Being active in any way can curb anxiety whether you choose weightlifting, horseback riding, running, yoga, walking or any other form of activity.  There have been many studies conducted that physical activity helps with anxiety and depression.  I used to weight lift and currently my go to is Yoga, when the weather is nice in Maine running might be on my list.  My go to physical activity, especially when anxious, is not always the same.  It depends on what my body is craving, sometimes it’s a run or walk no matter the weather because I just need a change of scenery.  I will state though; my anxiety has never been helped by digging through social media or on my phone.

If I am unable to be physically active when I am having anxiety another practice I have put into place is being more thankful.  I will take a piece of paper, or in my planner, and write down what I am grateful for in that moment.  For this year I actually purchased a Five-Minute Journal that I write in every morning and every night.  If I have anxiety at any point in the day I remind myself of what I was thankful for that morning.

It is also okay to just take a day and sit with yourself and utilize these tools.  There are days where anxiety just breaks you down and gets overwhelming.  I had one such day when this occurred and it made me realize I needed help, I needed third party to talk to because talking to my family and boyfriend just wasn’t cutting it.  Sometimes that is what it takes and its ok to admit to needing to speak to someone.  It took me a while to recognize this, and that it was okay to see someone.  I bought into the fear that I would be judged for seeing a therapist and that those around me would be heavily concerned if I began seeing one.

Anxiety is real, it can be debilitating and frustrating.  My post again, is here to hopefully speak to you the reader in recognizing you are not alone.  If you follow my social media I try to be very honest and “real”.  There are many out there who also suffer silently with their anxiety and don’t have a fix but I hope that my post may help them in no longer being silent.

It’s a New Year!

Go figure right?  By the time you are reading this it’s January 8th and many of you have started making yourself a brand new person with your New Years’ Resolutions.

My question is what’s wrong with the person you are? I’m not saying don’t go and set goals for yourself but just because it’s a new year doesn’t mean that’s what you HAVE to do.  If we’re going based off that then tomorrow’s a brand NEW day, why not start whatever resolutions then?

I realized some time ago how new years became a toxic thought spiral.  It’s the time of year where everyone amps up to set resolutions and keep them.  So if they fail at going to the gym every day each week in a month what happens?  Do they give up and say “Well I tried”?  I know many that have and then beat themselves up, all themselves a failure and say “Well I just can’t do it.”  I say to that individual, YOU ARE WRONG! I can do it but you know what?!  Life happens!  You get sick, your schedule gets full, and some days you’re just damn tired.  Well, you are a HUMAN BEING; not a SUPER human so cut yourself some slack, wake up to the new day tomorrow and try again.

For instance, the month of January I committed myself to doing the 30 Yoga Challenge hosted by Yoga with Adrienne. It’s day 5 and let me tell you I have not done the yoga sequence in two days.  Friday I was exhausted from shoveling myself out and yesterday I had a boot camp/yoga event in the AM and a party in the evening.  Getting home at 10pm, while I’ve done yoga that late before, I was exhausted.  So do I feel like crap because I haven’t kept up my end of the bargain? Yep! For some reason I think that Adrienne knows I haven’t done it, that the Yoga with Adrienne community knows I haven’t done it and they’re going to think less of me.  Is this true?! HELL NO!  It is entirely in my head, and if they do feel that way well, it is their problem.

In the few short days of 2018 so far I have realized that my goal isn’t to complete something consecutively per day, my goal each day is to be active in some way.  Whether this may be yoga, working out, hiking, snow shoeing, shoveling (lets face it it is an activity) or simply going for a walk.  I want to be active every day, I want to get my body moving and stretching.

What I am trying to say with this post is set goals for yourself, or if you wish call them resolutions.  Make them every single day, don’t think you need to wait for a new year to occur to create them.  I am constantly adjusting my goals, I have a Passion Planner, that I never thought I would ever use, to help me do so.  My mom had gotten me one as a gift a few years ago and I thought it was a great idea but was entirely confused as to what to do with a blank slate.  I mean literally a blank slate, no dates, no holidays marked, NOTHING! It didn’t even have cute little designs in it.  What it did have were quotes every week to help guide me and suggestions on what I could do that week to give thanks or reach out to those I love.

We may feel that each new year is a blank slate, and sometimes that is true but it’s not because it is January 1st.  It is because we decide it to be, just like we decide that tomorrow is going to be a better day then today.  So I ask of you, know that you are a human being who can only physically and mentally control so much.  Recognize that goals will and can change and it’s a beautiful thing.  Most of all, I ask that you realize your “New Year” can start at any time that you wish; it isn’t determined by the date January 1st, it is determined when you say “It’s a New Year for me” and you choose to start changing and going after those goals.

I can tell you right now that my “New Year” started July 10th, 2017 when I started this blog.  I decided to change and share my thoughts, actions, fears, and life with those who would read it.  My New Year started then as I decided to get out of my shell and put myself out there in an entirely new way.  My New Year started with this blog because I decided then to work on a life goal of creating a community where others felt like they were not alone.

Happy 2018 everyone! I look forward to sharing my year with you and hearing about yours!

Email: beyou_findyou@gmail.com
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