I often think about my ability to survive my life. We all have our stories. A survivor is someone who copes with a bad situation or affliction, problem solving while managing to live through the difficulty. It’s never easy. The easy part is believing we are alone, and that creates more pain.
Some of us remember a time, others are in it now, all of us are survivors in one way or another. My mind and body hold memories. My heart grows beyond the memories by feeling support, using tools to soothe, and time to adjust, adapt and assimilate a change. I don’t abandon myself any more.
Using my breath has been a crucial tool in my challenging times. I never thought I gasped for a breath when I was triggered by something real or imaginary. Indeed, I do. When I am triggered, I quickly take in air and hold it, which essentially causes more problems because I’m denying my body the crucial air it needs to function. The cascading effect begins the downfall into more panic.
Using square breathing has helped me; a technique taught to me by a therapist years ago. I imagine a square. I breathe in on one edge, hold my breath on the top, breath down on the other edge, and breathe out on the bottom.
This technique has helped me manage anxiety or even an oncoming panic attack while waiting in a grocery line or other public place. Just imagining a square calms me.
Breathe in; hold; breathe out; hold.
This technique is one of eight tools I gathered over the last 40 years living my life with greater ease knowing they are in my back pocket. Another technique to curb oncoming panic is passing a coin or other small object from one hand to the other, with a rhythm that instantaneously calms a rising panic. Both techniques have immediate results.
My tools are the result of my life lessons, the gems I take from the tragedies I endure. I collect them in my proverbial toolbelt. Sometimes I imagine the tools clanging and clanking together as I walk through life.
The belt itself is made up of healthy boundaries, my personal boundaries for taking care of myself, and honoring others in their journey. My discernment has deepened over time.
Years ago, I would overshare, overhelp and deliver ideas to others who weren’t asking because of my excitement in the relief I found in difficult situations. I learned very quickly how unhelpful it is to offer a fix without being asked. Mindful awareness is part of my toolbelt. I demonstrate my tools, not deliver them unwelcomed to others.
We all have our learning curves. We all have our journeys. My life journey unfolds for me as it does for others. I trust with time each of us finds solace through the pain we endure because our hearts yearn to be comforted, included and loved.
The list of stress/anxiety relieving techniques can be found on my website for free here.
Let us turn inward now Feel the rhythm of the breath. In and out, In and out, Find the peace of just being with the flow of the breath. Letting go of yesterday and tomorrow. Feel the restorative power of the peace of this moment. A peace, large enough to open to the concerns and sorrows that trouble us. A stillness, quiet enough to respond to the joys and celebrations that enliven us. There is safety here in the rhythm of the