Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June 13: Taking a Deep Breath, Fight or Flight, Gaining Control

Yesterday, at a therapy appointment with my wife, we talked about deep breathing.  Our therapist told us about the physical act of taking a deep breath as a means of regaining control in a tense situation.  She said that, when we start panicking, it's a throwback to a primeval part of our psyches.  Back in the time of dinosaurs and saber tooth tigers, our reaction to a threat was either to fight (and probably die) or resort to flight (and probably die).  When I allow myself to become overwhelmed by financial worries, I am in the jungle again, wondering when that sound in the trees will jump out and maul me to death. 

Taking a deep breath physically arrests that anxiety.  It allows me to gain control of myself and the situation.  I am not going to die because I got an overdraft notice in the mail (which I did today).  Deep breath.  I am not going to die if my mortgage refinance falls through.  Deep breath.  I'm not even going to die if, for some reason, I lose one of my jobs.  Deep breath.  None of those circumstances will physically end my existence.  Deep breath.

The neanderthal in me has just taken the back seat.  It's no longer driving my actions, and the saber tooth tiger is no longer breathing down my neck.  That's what deep breathing does.  There are also some very physical reactions in the body that deep breathing triggers, and those reactions also help quell panic and anxiety.  I've been practicing deep breathing today.  I've even been practicing it as I type this post.

Saint Marty is just one...Deep breath...Deep...Deep breath...Cleansing...Deep breath...Breath...Deep breath...Away...Deep breath...From.  Deep breath...Sanity...Deep breath...

Run for your life!  The cable bill payment is late!

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