Hey party people! I don’t know why I got the sudden urge to call you that… maybe it’s all the party rocking I did in Body Step this morning ;) I’ve taught one class and I’ve got another one later tonight. I really should bottle this awesome feeling I get after teaching- there really is nothing like it. Apart from the gym, I’ve also been to my therapist appointment. Which is what I want to talk about today. He gave me some techniques (ahhh i love getting homework- this is not sarcastic btw) to do over the week. There are two that are handy for relaxing the body called Buddha Belly and the Breathing Waltz (or something along those lines), and another that focuses on relaxing the mind.
To start he got me to rate my anxiety and we created a rating scale from 0 to 100, where 0 is asleep and 100 would be crazay! 50 would be the point where I start to feel some of those psychological sensations associated with anxiety (twitching, uneasy, fiddling etc). He said he would like me to document this as I do but it’s okay if I don’t. He also said there’s no punishment for not doing this ‘homework’ per se but he said those who did take the time to do it really felt improvements. And I am all for improvements, so you bet I’ll be doing it. BUT here is the catch- it requires you to stop what you’re doing, 3 times a day (morning, noon and night or something) to assess yourself and your anxiety. So basically he said I’ve got to do the opposite to what I’m doing and just stop. Seems simple enough right? NOT! But as always I’ll try my hardest haha. So once I’ve stopped he wants me to lock into myself and see where my anxiety levels are at. If they are 50 or above then I need to continue with some exercises he has given me (he quickly remarked after saying that, that they WEREN’T physical exercises so don’t get too excited haha! How does this man know me so well already?). If it is under 50 then I am free to (what he calls) ‘jump back on the merry-go-round of life’ and keep going about my business.
The two techniques I described earlier are breathing techniques. We did do some breathing exercises during my session and he said I am breathing way too fast for someone as fit as me and for a typical resting adult. But it’s because of my anxiety and stress that my breathing quickens. So hopefully these exercises are going to help with that. Let’s start with the first exercise which is the Buddha Belly. What you do is place your hands on your stomach and concentrate on breathing from the diaphragm. Your fingers should just touch. Also, breathing from the diaphragm doesn’t mean you intake more air but it means you breathe deeper with the same amount of oxygen. Your fingers should be touching slightly as you breathe in and then slightly stretch apart as you breathe out.
Whilst you do that you can also do the Breathing Waltz. He slightly altered mine to the Breathing Two Step so it was more manageable (babysteps). Basically with the waltz you breathe in, two, three, then out, two, three (like a waltzing rhythm)- there should be three counts for the inward breathe and three for the outward. This results in one breath every six seconds. After a while your mantra should change from in two three, out two three to- in two three, relax two three. This way you consciously tell yourself to relax and allow your body to go limp and PHYSICALLY RELAX!
I found the combinations of these two techniques really good for relaxing my body but found my mind was still at it. So he shared another technique that will relax the mind. What this technique does is it alerts yourself to the here and now. He says the problem with people suffering from anxiety is that they are constantly dealing with the past and future that they forget the present. Guilty as charged! Basically, this is a pretty repetitive method where you name 5 things around you that you can see, 5 things you can hear and 5 things you can feel. Then follow this same notion but make it 4 things, and then 3 and so on. And yes, you can say the same things haha, I questioned this also. Surprisingly, this really brought me into the ‘now’ and allowed me to stop thinking about everything else other than what I was doing.
I am yet to try these techniques out on my own but I’ll be sure to keep you updated. And you should try them too and see if they work for you? I’d love to here your feedback! Oh and here’s some cute pictures to remind you-
Have you ever done anything similar to the described techniques? Have you got any other tips and tricks?