Life can be completely overwhelming. Feelings of anxiety washing over you. Waves of discontent while you try and work out this crazy life. Sound familiar?
Here's some things that I've learnt to try and find some balance and stability when it feels like you can't get a breath in.
1 - Take a step back
Sit back and explore the sensations
Rather than trying to fight any emotions or feelings that have come up, just take a break and observe what's going on inside you. Explore any sensations that have arisen, become aware of the thoughts in your head, knowing that they are not fact.
2 - Find Your Grounding
Find out what works best for you when you are feeling the angst coming on. It might be a mantra, a certain activity, song or place that calms you. Once you're feeling slightly more grounded, you're in a better head space to make decisions and chose wisely.
You have so many tools at your disposal - What would calm your mind and allow you to breathe? Meditation? Yoga? Journaling? A long walk? Talking to a friend?
'Remind yourself that you can swim. If you didn't know how, you wouldn't have made it this far.'
3 - Bring in some support
Reach out to your friends or family. The people you know will be there during your tough times. People won't know how to help unless you talk to them, share what's going on with you.
Mental Illnesses are on the rise, but so is the awareness of them. People are sharing their own experiences with their mental health which may make it easier for others to do the same. There is nothing wrong with you so never feel embarrassed to talk about it.
Please know that you're not alone in this. I know that suffering with a mental illness can feel like the loneliest thing but there are thousands of people out there feeling exactly the same way you do.
4 - Focus on the opposite
Rather than focusing on the fact that you can't breath, focus on drawing the breath deep into the lungs, expanding the chest, ribs and belly to make spaces for fullness of breath. Instead of thinking about all of the things that could go wrong, focus on what could go well! Focus on the good stuff to tell you brain it doesn't need to send you into 'fight or flight mode' and that you're quite happy as you are without it sending stress triggers into your body.
5 - Get to know You
Something triggered this breathlessness or anxiety. Try and understand what it was. Investigate what your trigger points are. Once you identify the people, thoughts, interactions etc that trigger you, you can be more aware of them next time they show up.