I’ve used elements of my birthing method just about everyday since I took the class 6 years ago. No, I have not birthed thousands of children, nor have I endured the stages of labor more than 3 times. But there are two elements I use to help me relax…and to get me through the physical reactions of worry.
When we worry, our body prepares as if we’re going to experience physical danger. Worry puts us into a fight or flight response…so our brain releases adrenaline and cortisol to prepare us for whatever lies ahead. These hormones make our hearts pump faster, so we breathe faster and sweat more.
It’s hard to battle worrisome thoughts with racing breathing and sweaty armpits. I’ve realized that when I worry, I’m not always thinking clearly. My body pushes me into frantic thoughts and all too soon I’m on the path to anxiety.
In these moments, I employ some of the Bradley birthing method. I love, love, love this natural childbirth method and have been blessed to have used it with all 3 children. I love it so much that I’ve considered becoming an instructor in the technique. It’s on my bucket list, along with becoming Buddy’s apprentice on Cake Boss! In the meantime, here are 2 Bradley methods I use to battle worry:
This technique slows your breathing and actually gets more oxygen into your body. Higher oxygen levels means we can think more clearly as we battle worry.
The first step with belly breathing is typically to calm your mind…but trying to calm your mind in the midst of worry takes some practice. So, practice calming your mind. Let go of just one anxious thought and you’ve made your mind just a degree calmer. You may find you can let more go the more you practice.
The second step is to breathe in through your NOSE, while letting your belly expand, rather than your chest. Silently and slowly count to 4 as you inhale.
The final step is to exhale through your MOUTH, silently and slowly counting. You want to try to exhale twice as long as you inhaled. So as you exhale, count to 8.
Do this 2 or 3 times. If you feel light-headed, you might be breathing too quickly. Slow down…and maybe sit down if you’re standing. Simply slowing down my breathing has really helped me calm my body and in turn, calm my worrisome mind. The next method has taken some practice too.
This is my favorite relaxation technique. It helps unwind my body at bedtime and ease a tense, anxious body…which again, helps to calm my mind.
The first step is to lie down. Get comfortable. Feel with your entire body the surface on which you lie. Let it fully support you as you relax into the bed/couch/floor/whatever you’re lying on.
The next step is to progressively go through your body and imagine each part of your body falling down through the floor. I start with my feet. I feel the weight of them on the floor and imagine they dip down through the floor. Then I do the same with my calves, knees, thighs, rear, etc. until I’ve reached my head.
As you progress, you’re body feels heavier and heavier, and you should feel more and more relaxed…and hopefully ready for a less-anxious night of rest!
*I am by no means a medical professional. I’m just a mom sharing what has worked in my own life. Consider talking further with your doctor about options for relaxation and deep breathing techniques.
What are your favorite relaxation techniques?