I recently received a skin care treatment and as I lay under the warm steam I noticed that my chest felt tight, and that my breathing was shallow. I was aware of a pain in my back, and discomfort in my legs. The most obvious sensation I had was that it was hard to breathe.
I started taking slow, deep breaths into my belly. I focused on breath, and trying to remain open and relaxed. As I lay there, I consciously tried to relax my shoulders, relax my hips, relax my arms and my legs. And as I did, I let out a big sigh, a sign that my central nervous system was letting off steam.
Over the next few days I consciously remained aware of times when I felt like I was stressed or anxious. I tuned in and noticed that when I am anxious or stressed, it feels like my body is tight and constricted. It is as if my whole body is holding it’s breath. I believe this is my body’s way of keeping me safe.
When I recognize I feel this way, I focus on breathing slowly and deeply into my belly. I thank my body for protecting me. I look at the situation I am in and think about what I am feeling. This is mindfulness in action.
I have noticed that with this enhanced quality of breath, and by acknowledging my body’s messages, I feel calmer and more centered. I’ve also become more aware of the kinds of situations that are healthful for me and which are toxic.
I can choose to be in situations that support my health and well-being.