Please welcome Abigail Steidley, owner of The Healthy Life, LLC Life Coaching Services and blogger of The Vagina Dialoguesas guest blogger for yet another week!
I often think I’ve thoroughly learned something and then life throws me a new experience that takes me deeper than ever into untapped oceans of understanding and clarity. Having used deep breathing to move through the excruciating pain of vulvodynia and a kidney stone and interstitial cystitis, I felt I had quite a handle on the whole breathing thing. I’ve been expounding upon it regularly in my posts, blissfully sharing the amazing effects of breathing. It reduces anxiety. It stops panic. It gives you the ability to reach your inner healer. It reduces pain. It needs to be a regular part of your life. Have I been doing it? No.
As a person who developed physical pain as a result of much unprocessed emotion, including anxiety and panic, I am fully aware of my tendency toward anxiety. I tend to slip into it easily, and I tend to store it in my body. While in physical pain, I learned how to relax and release this anxiety through deep breathing, which I would do for forty-five minutes at a time. I rose from these sessions invigorated, rested, and joyful. However, I often find it difficult to fit in forty-five minute sessions in my current life. So, in my typical fashion, I stopped doing the breathing work at all because I felt that I couldn’t do it “right.”
Well, thankfully, I am a life coach, so I am always available to coach myself. I called myself up and said, “Hey Coach, I’m not feeling so great this week. What should I do?” My Coach Self spoke right up, surprising Non-Coach Me with an inner wisdom I did not expect. She said, “Breathe.” Of course, she’s been reading Eckhart Tolle, so I’m pretty sure she stole that straight from him. Okay, I know she did. Tolle suggests taking three deep breaths whenever anxiety arises. I was in such an emotionally negative place that I didn’t even tell if I was feeling anxiety. I just knew I felt horrible. So, I sat down and took three deep breaths.
Voila! A revelation! I have been feeling a nearly constant level of anxiety, and I was not even aware of it. I realized most of my day is spent with some level of tension somewhere in my body, which is the hallmark of anxiety. I was astounded at the relaxation power of three deep breaths. Of course forty-five minutes will relax me, but only three breaths? Is it really even worth it? The answer is a resounding yes. Amazed, I incorporated the three breaths into my daily schedule wherever I could. It’s like taking a little vacation every hour or so. Every time I stop and breathe, I discover that I am holding a great deal of tension in my body. I breathe, release the tension, and relax. Miraculously, I feel about ten times better after only one day of practicing this technique.
By skipping my breathing exercises because I believed I wasn’t going to be able to do them “right,” I lost the powerful relaxation tool inherent in breathing. Truthfully, you don’t even have to take deep breaths. All you have to do is focus on your breath for three cycles. It’s the mere attention to your breath that holds the magic. My body feels lighter, having released anxiety regularly all day, and I feel balanced again. One minute several times a day is easy to fit in, and I am hooked. I love feeling relaxed. I love noticing my anxiety and gently exhaling it away. I feel deeply connected to my essential self and my Inner Healer. I invite you to try it. I invite you to take one-minute vacations all day long, connect with your breath, and discover your own anxiety level. Anxiety does not have to be a way of life. This is the lesson I have learned, and now re-learned, and will probably keep on learning. The simplicity of it is absolutely beautiful. I love to take the three breaths, feel the relaxation, the connection, and the resulting joy. Let’s do it together, right now. Breathe.