Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Overcome Anxiety: Meditative Breathing & Oxygen


It was about 2001 that I was diagnosed as having "Panic disorder". At that point in time my anxiety was manifesting as hyperventilation, dizzy spells, chest pains, and an immense sensation of fear and foreboding. It only got worse before it got better, and for a few years I was plagued by panic attacks, agoraphobia, and general fears and worries of all types. 

It wasn't until I started to really heal and make progress that I had the clarity to look back on my life and realize that I have always had panic disorder. I think back to my childhood, different times and experiences, and realize that what my parents thought of as tantrums, or acting out, or being too emotional and sensitive, were actually panic and anxiety attacks that were out of my control. 

When I was first diagnosed I did what regular society expects you to do; I saw a therapist, a psychiatrist, and took different medications. These medications proved helpful, in that they shut down my emotions, and rather removed all feeling. But that was a problem in and of itself; I'm a highly feeling woman, taking away my emotions was pretty much like removing my ability to relate to life. After a few years of therapy and medication, and after a year of intensive daily meditation on my own, and a vigorous determination to be well, I walked into my shrinks office one day and essentially fired her.

What an empowering day!

How Does Meditation Help With Anxiety?

Oxygen is essential to our biology; when our brain doesn't receive enough oxygen our entire vascular, heart, and blood system is deprived, and we end up breathing shallow and not thinking clearly. These days, many people are oxygen deprived and it is obvious by the staggering amount of anger in the world. If everyone took a few seconds to breathe deeply after a scary or frustrating situation, then they would be better equipped physically and psychologically to deal with adversity. When we don't get enough oxygen our brain is literally working overtime without all of it's necessary components.

Meditation has many definitions and understandings, but I'm going to bust through the new age spiritual aspects and get to the physical benefits of meditation: breathing.

When you breathe in deeply and hold the inhale in for a few seconds, you allow a rich supply of oxygen to travel through your lungs, into your blood stream, cells, heart, veins, and eventually to your brain. This is like pumping high octane gasoline into your car; your car can run well enough with regular gas, but a high test gas is going to improve the overall performance of the car! The same applies for the human brain and oxygen.

Meditation begins and ends with breathing; no matter why you're meditating, or what your goals are, every single person upon the planet who meditates does so with normalized deep inhalations of breath, and slow steady exhalations. This rhythmic inhale/exhale exercise is easy, anybody can do it, anytime. You can breathe deeply right now while you're reading these words and I urge you to do so. Begin now, by taking one long cleansing breath in, and steadily count in your head to about 5 or 6 as you inhale. Once your lungs are full of rich air, hold the breath in for a count of anywhere from 3-6 seconds, then slowly and steadily release the breathe by exhaling to a count of about 4-5 seconds. Do this a few times. As you read these words, breathing deeply, exhaling steadily, feel your muscles in your shoulders, arms, legs and ankles begin to un-clench. Feel your body begin to truly relax, as your muscles now start to let go of contained energy and stored tension. 

Do you feel that? 

This is the basis of any and all meditation; breathing.

You do not need to do anything beyond this, for now this meditative breathing will suffice, as you are now empowering yourself by doing something which gives you instant results and gratification. You don't need to sit in the lotus, or chant, or try to astral project; these are not the goals of meditation anyways. 

Meditation is simply about clearing ones mind to focus on the purity and pervasiveness of this very moment; now. This never ending moment which is sliding second by second into each new moment, is all you need to focus on as you breath deeply in, and exhale deeply out. And in doing this, and focusing on only this moment, you become aware of your self, and your body, and your environment, in this moment. And this is the only consistent truth in the world you can surely rely upon besides death; this moment, and your environment..

There are other posts here on Soul Searching about Meditation and you can search that category or contact me on the Facebook Group to find out more, but for now, if you've come here to find relief for your own depression, anxiety, panic, or agoraphobia, then this is a good place for you to start.

This moment now, with you, breathing deeply, hearing the ambient sounds around you, smelling the scents around you, feeling your body, each muscle, each twitch, your lungs filling and emptying, this is the key to liberating yourself from the fears which hold you in stasis right now. 

Do this breathing often, several times a day. I breathe deeply when stuck in traffic, when cleaning my home, when reading, when walking, when arguing with someone, when faced with a difficult decision, when stressed beyond my limits. I breathe deeply and give myself an advantage by enriching my brain with oxygen, and pulling my awareness into this very moment right now. In doing this I liberate myself from victim mentality, and take control of something only I can control: my oxygen intake, and my thoughts.

I wish you blessings and strength as you move on from this post, and begin to use deep meditative breathing to begin to truly heal yourself. I will continue to post more and more about overcoming anxiety and depression. I will always have depression, and I will always have a propensity towards panic. But I no longer have panic attacks, and my bouts of depression are few compared to what they were even a decade ago. 

Trust in your intuition; if it tells you to trust in me, then favorite this page, or subscribe to Soul Searching, and let's work together to bring you back into the moment, in balance, and with nothing but peace and hope.





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