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Just Breathe. When it’s hard to put one foot in front of the other, when things aren’t going well and life gets tough, remind yourself you don’t have to solve all your problems right then and there. Take it one day at a time. For today, perhaps you only need to breathe and take care of yourself.

Nervous System Regulation and Anxiety

When you are stressed, upset and anxious, soothing yourself can seem impossible. Some people may even have physiological symptoms from anxiety that make it hard to breathe. Racing heart, chest pain, hyperventilating, all of these symptoms can make you feel like you are unable to catch your breath. That can be a very scary feeling. Remember that in these moments, you are in control of your own body. It may not feel like it, but you are. During these scary moments, our nervous system is dysregulated. Many people have trouble regulating their nervous systems because they were not taught how to do this in childhood. Many people have a chronically dysregulated nervous system due to childhood trauma as well. This does not mean that you will have these feelings forever. You, as an adult, can learn the tools required to start regulating your nervous system and controlling overwhelming feelings of anxiety.


Nervous System Regulation in Action

When your nervous system is dysregulated, you feel as though you are not in control anymore. But like I said before, you are. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by anxiety and/or depression, try this:
Understand that your nervous system is dysregulated, but this feeling will not last forever. Now breathe. Notice your anxious thoughts without judgment. Notice where your body holds the tension. Breathe in. Hold your breath for the count of 4. Then slowly exhale. Notice your body relaxing. Choose to take care of things that are in your control. Small steps. One day at a time. Let go of what you can’t control. This is empowerment. This is living in the now.


Breathing Exercise

Here is a quick breathing exercise to use in times of stress:

  • Breathe in for 4 seconds
  • Hold the breath for 7 seconds
  • Exhale for 8 seconds
  • Repeat as many times as it takes to slow your heart rate down and start feeling more calm.

Therapy Healing

Outside of anxious feelings, it is easy to remember and practice breathing techniques. When you are in the moment, implementing your tools can be a bit more difficult. Many people need help implementing these tools, and that is completely okay. Whether you never learned the tools necessary to combat anxiety from childhood trauma, or if you are at a point in your adult life where feelings of anxiety/depression are just too overwhelming due to an event such as infidelity or betrayal trauma, you are valid in reaching out for help. There are therapists in your area ready to assist you along your healing journey, reach out to one today.