You need to stop and breathe
When you breathe it is something that you don’t have to think about. Our bodies were made to do certain functions without being told to do them, for instance, our hearts beat our lung exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen. If we had to physically think about telling our heart and lungs to do what they are made to do naturally we would not live very long at all. So it would seem silly then to have to be told to breathe. What is more than likely meant was stop and take a breath, slow down, cool off, get yourself grounded again so that you can jump back into whatever it is you were doing.
How does the act of taking a deep breath help our bodies? When we take a good deep breath in we expand our lungs to the fullest, which then increases the heartrate slightly which pushes the oxygen rich blood into our systems. When we exhale the heart slows down, and when this deep breath in, exhale out is repeat our heartrate starts to get into rhythm with our breaths which then helps us to calm down and clear our brains of the fog of stress. With stress comes high blood pressure due to our hearts beating faster, our muscles get tense and our bodies get ready for the flight mode response. We were not made to stay in a constant state of stress and anxiety, so taking the time to sit back, relax and take deep cleansing breaths will help return our bodies to a normal state of being. This does not make it easy to hear from someone that you need to stop and breath but in the end it is a necessity to do it none the less.
A very wise, very loving friend was the recipient of a very cranky and stressed out me yesterday. I had woken up already in a hurry. My dog needed a walk and truthfully I needed a walk, so we went on that walk. I was able to pull up my favorite podcast and get myself ready for the day (walking early in the morning is very calming to me). Once I got home though, there was a workout to do, breakfast to be made and a lunch that had to be thrown together. Added to that I received a call from work saying that the road that the hospital is on had construction and it would be difficult to get into the parking lot. My husband was going to be dropping me off but I had to pick up supplies first from another hospital. Once at work (finally), the parking lot was already full and sadly our receptionist was stuck in the construction so I had to be tech and receptionist for a short time. Once my loving, wise friend arrived to help with patients I was at the point of being a silent but deadly volcano ready to explode. So when she said “Heather, breathe”, I sadly retorted “I don’t have time to breath” and stomped off. We eventually slowed down to a point that we could regroup and talk. When asked about my ugly retort, I was able to explain that I did indeed need to step back take a breath and do one thing at a time , but I also needed to destress from having two stressful days prior to yesterday. We talked, we planned and we changed up the way that we were doing things since they were so chaotic.
What my friend knew about me, which had thrown her off when I wasn’t this way was that I can usually stay calm during stressful situations. I get the job done that needs to get done and then I go off and decompress. It is how I have learned to be working in the vet field. Most of the time you can’t predict when an emergency will come through your door so you have to be prepared always. It took me a few years to get to a point of calm during stress and emergencies. What happened yesterday that caused me to loose my cool was that is was completely chaotic and that is where I don’t do well.
Taking that breath, stepping back and regrouping is always better than pushing forward and possibly missing something important or even messing something up. In the Bible it is repeatedly said that we need to find rest, we should work hard and not be lazy, but take the time to plan, pray, sleep, find joy and fall into our Father’s arms of peace. Usually when I find myself in the most chaotic of circumstances, it’s because I have decided to fix things on my own, without praying and getting advice from others I trust. Stepping back from something or someone is not the end of the world. Take a breath, say a prayer and don’t step back into the situation until you are grounded again. Until next time:
Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.Ernest Hemingway