Thursday, March 3, 2011

Just Breathe

We have had so much going on here at my house. . . too much in fact. With two large projects in the works life has been busy. I'm trying to keep up with small things too such as laundry, dusting, blogging, scouts, my personal yoga practice. Cormac has been sick. And I'm officially run down. The exhaustion has set in.

So yesterday night I had had enough and declared it an early-bedtime night. The hubby and I were tucked in bed by 9:30. Within 1 minute Ammon's breathing had slowed and he was already drifting in dream land. I so wish I could fall asleep that fast. As I snuggled up to him and tried to sleep I couldn't keep my mind from the millions of places it was going. How was I going to find time for all of it. I needed to go grocery shopping. What about the dishes? What color to paint the shop? So many things to think about.

After about 15 minutes I was beginning to panic. This usually happens with me when I'm trying to get some rest and am busy. I've struggled with insomnia for years. It has been much better recently (having a baby and being a mom wears you out). But as the time continued to tick, and I continued to be awake I started to worry that I wasn't going to get to sleep. Then I would have to run on empty the next day as well.

I tried talking myself down. Nothing was going to get done right then. If I wanted to be more productive tomorrow it was important that I allow my body to rest.

Still my mind wandered. Still I panicked that I wasn't sleeping.

It was after about 30 minutes of this that I decided to take some wisdom from yoga. I began to breathe. Okay, so I had been breathing the whole time, but I began to be conscious of it. When my mind wandered I acknowledged the thought and put it away in the file cabinet of my mind to be dealt with tomorrow. Then I breathed some more.

In. Out. In. Out.

After about 5 minutes I realized that I had calmed down and had been drifting in and out of dream land. It was amazing how calm, relaxed, and ready for sleep I was. And yesterday morning I woke up refreshed for the first time in weeks.

In case you are struggling some night and need to calm down and relax I will share with you the pattern of breathing I used. I inhaled for a comfortable amount of time. For me that is 4 seconds. Then I exhaled the same amount of time. I allowed my breathing to be equal until it was comfortable and natural. Then I extended my inhale by one second. In for 4 seconds, out for 5. After a little while at this rate I bumped it up to 6 seconds out. Keeping the inhale where it was. Worked like a charm.

The power of our breath is absolutely incredible. Why do you think they teach women going into labor how to breathe? It's that powerful. Try it out. Just taking a few minutes each day to breathe consciously can help you manage stress and anxiety in powerful ways.

1 comment:

The Martha Complex said...

When I was going to therapy by therapist said she was going to teach me to breath... sessions ended and she never taught me (course I forgot to ask.).

I am the type to lay in bed analyzing EVERYTHING that happened that day... conversations, things I should have said, things I should have done. If my body could run fast as my mine does life would be easy. :) Thanks for t he breathing tips... I will try that next time I have those sleepless, mind racing, nights.