The Montfort Group

In This Unprecedented Time Take A Breath

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

Viktor Frankl

In this unprecedented time, we are all waiting, watching and wondering what is in store, and in suspense of what will happen next. How will the world go back to normal or will it ever be normal again? How will my family, friends, and community be affected by this highly contagious virus sweeping the world? What do our collective and individual futures hold? These questions fill the news, social media feeds, conversations with family, clients, co-workers, friends; it’s on all of our minds, it’s all we can think and talk about. The climate of anxiety is palpable, thick, almost tangible. In these moments it is of utmost importance to take a breath.

Globally we are grappling with this health crisis and trying our best to understand the new reality that is unfolding before our eyes. The severity and uncertainty of the situation makes it easy to slip into a downward spiral and land in a state of panic. 

When I feel this happening to me, I stop for a moment and use a tool I have at my disposal no matter where I am or what I am doing. I use my breath to calm down when I feel overloaded by emotions. 

The process sounds simple but is profound. Take 60 seconds to stop and focus on your breath. Notice the feeling of air filling the lungs into the belly until you sense the moment the lungs release the air on the exhale. Some of you may be skeptical and that’s okay. Truthfully, breathing does not solve the problem at hand, it absolutely does not stop the overwhelmedness, and it does not cure the fear. But breathing is an effective way to emotionally and physically regain composure when facing difficult situations so you can think clearly and logically. 

Connecting with this simple action helps the body move from a flight or fight state by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system and allowing the body to relax and regulate. With practice, you can learn to intentionally stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to immediately reduce anxiety and stress, which lifts mood, strengthens the immune system, and reduces blood pressure.

Even 1 minute of mindful breathing can help to make intentional decisions. To get started, set 3 phone reminders (one in the morning, at lunch and in the evening) to breathe for 1 minute. You can increase the time increment when you notice the minute goes by quickly. Give it a try and see if it helps you create a calming space amid this time of uncertainty. 

If you want to learn more about breathwork or strategies to reduce your stress and anxiety, especially during this ongoing state of crisis, contact me at The Montfort Group to schedule an appointment.  

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