Friday, 24 October 2008

Breathing exercises for anxiety

I've been umming and ahhing about whether I should reveal this: I visited a psych the other day.

When I visited the psych, I wasn't looking for answers to the cause of my CFS. I have issues with my divorced parents that haven't been resolved, and now that I'm not well, I've had too much time to dwell on it. So I figured, this is a better time than any to seek advice from someone who can be objective: a psych.

Anyway, he came to the conclusion that I'm not depressed, but my anxiety and stress levels are quite high. He said that the way people have responded to my CFS (negatively) has triggered feelings I felt when my dad left home. As a result, I'm getting stressed by these triggers.

The psych explained stress in biological terms: apparently, the ANS (autonomic nervous system) is constituted of the SNS (sympathetic nervous system) and the PNS (parasympathetic nervous system). When a person gets stressed by something, what kicks into gear is the SNS, which promotes a fight-or-flight response.

Basically, I'm constantly in flight-or-fight mode, which is really sapping my energy.

To get my SNS under control, the psych taught me some breathing exercises, because breathing is something that concerns both the SNS and PNS.

I have to breathe slowly and deeply, using my diaphragm more than usual. Once the breathing is regular, I have to think of a happy thought. I've tried the exercise a few times this week, and it's really helped, which is why I decided to post about it here.

On a side note: the exercise reminds me of the spell in Harry Potter called expecto patronum, where they have to think a happy thought!

1 comment:

Daughter of Zion said...

Are you able to do yoga? I find that is working wonders for me, learning how to breathe, it has also reduced my chronic pain in my muscles that i suffer from and helped my back. Also, its one of the few excercises I can do that doesnt leave me wiped out.