Okay, now that we’ve gotten through the flurry of the holiday season, it’s time to breathe. New Year’s resolutions? Great idea, but they can make you feel overwhelmed. If you find yourself getting anxious about all the changes you want to make, just… breathe. A friend shared with me a complicated scientific diagram outlining the effects of anxiety and how it changes your breathing patterns. Let me explain this without making your brain hurt.
We get anxious and unconsciously start breathing faster, or breathing from our upper chest instead of our belly. We hunch our shoulders and head forward, as if it will make us accomplish things faster. This change in breathing patterns alters our blood chemistry in a way that changes our blood vessel, muscle, and nerve function. The result is that we become more sensitive to pain, noise, and light. What do you call those people? Crabby. Which makes us even more anxious, because we know we’re not firing on all cylinders. So we unconsciously start breathing faster (see above)… and the downward spiral continues.
So how do you eat that elephant? One bite at a time. But first, take a deep breath. Sit tall, shoulders back, and breathe so deeply your bellybutton pops forward. Then, write out your plan for making changes in the new year.
About the author: Dr. Barbara Kaiser, DC, CCWP, is a wellness-certified family chiropractor at Vital Life Chiropractic in Eagan, Minnesota.