Fight Feeling Overwhelmed Through Your Breath
Updated: May 3, 2022
Of course, you've heard of 'fight or flight', but have you ever heard of REST AND DIGEST? We want everything fast, and right now, which means our nervous systems are always on alert.
What's on my mind today is the topic of overwhelm, sparked by a mini-text conversation with one of my daughters. Even though I was trying to be helpful in asking her to look at something that could dramatically change her current situation for the better, what I got back was, “I can't. It's too much”, (not exactly those words, but definitely the meaning).
I remember those days when I put everything I had to do before my own self-care. It is so ingrained in us women, since we are taught to basically be care-givers and fixers, before we are taught how much we ourselves matter in the grand scheme of our lives.
In this culture, we want everything fast, and right now, which means our nervous systems are always on alert, looking for that next thing, before we even finish the last. Not being able to climb off that hamster wheel of activity, our bodies suffer the consequences.
Of course, you've heard of 'fight or flight', but have you ever heard of REST AND DIGEST? That's where your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) takes the reigns away from the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and works in harmony with it by downregulating your autonomic nervous system (ANS).
We can achieve the same effect quite easily with breathing and meditation. Breathwork, even just focusing on and being aware of how you are breathing and feeling in the moment is enough to start calming your frazzled and overwhelmed body and mind.
So next time you feel the urge to respond with "I can't do one more thing"; stop and notice a few exaggerated inhales and exhales (breathe through your mouth so you can hear yourself as well). The next thing you will feel is calmer, and more receptive to the possibilities contained within the "maybe I can".