Sometimes, I don't breathe. This is not necessarily related to stressful events or even being under a body of water. At any given time, I realize, to my surprise, that I'm holding my breath. Which can't be good for me.
Speaking of which, a good friend recently asked me what was my "regimen against anxiety". She sees anxiety as a perpetual presence that we have to work constantly to keep at bay. I see her point. If anxiety can be defined as "an expectation of a diffuse and uncertain danger" there really is no use pretending that's not my natural state.
Maybe if I breathed more, I'd feel better.
I wish I could tell you Yoga was a part of this regimen of mine. It sounds so coherent, spiritual and centered. The truth is, as much as I'd like to like practicing it, I don't. I feel the same way towards meditation. I'm sure it would be good for me, but every time I pretend to meditate I'm really just sitting cross-legged while running a mental inventory of the laundry I need to sort.
Besides making lists, straightening things, counting the number of items in my purse and other absolutely delicious, soothing kinds of admittedly repetitive behaviors, my regimen against anxiety (which sometimes works, and sometimes doesn't) is:
- I need time to hang out in my house, alone. If I schedule too many dinners out or work late too many days in a row, I become saturated, overwhelmed, resentful, and, needless to say, grouchy. I’ve decided that if I recognize that my cell phone needs daily recharging, I owe myself the same courtesy.
- Exercise. If I don't do it, after a few days I predictably find myself up at 3:00 a.m. wondering about the viability of building an armored panic room somewhere in my house.
- Talking myself out of the danger my body seems to think it's in. (Such as "it would not make sense for all the people you love to get hurt at the same time. The chances of that happening are not very high, statistically speaking." Or "worrying about something you can't do anything about is pointless". Even something resembling a chant "it's all going to be OK. It's all going to be OK.")
- To my initial point, I've recently added remembering I need to breathe. Not in an overly ambitious attempt to calm myself. Just so I don't pass out.