After understanding the enormity of the impact of refined sugar, processed foods and caffeine on the HSP body, one of my very first exercises for a new client is to begin each day with 5 minutes of deep breathing. I may take them through the process and guide them through this somewhat unnatural form of breathing (focusing on the belly-breath rather than the lung-expanding breath). I maintain that spending just 5 minutes on HSP relaxation techniques, such as breathing upon awakening and retiring, can serve to squelch the inevitable launch of cortisol (the now infamous stress hormone) from releasing into our brain and nervous system with the waking thought of “oh my God, I’ve got a million things to do today!” Or worse “oh my God, I’m alone and have nothing to do today!” (for some of my solitary seniors). Starting each day with these basic breathing excercises, the release of cortisol, the let’s-get-our-butt-in-gear hormone, is relatively quieted. Yes we do need to get our derrière moving, but there’s a difference. Beginning the day with slower thoughts and movements can be the quintessential practice of “mindfulness,” without further knowledge on the subject. I will share references and recommendations on mindfulness in a future blog.
Each time I ask a new HS client to embark upon this morning/evening breathing exercise, their response is always the same “I’ve tried before, I can’t meditate, it’s impossible for me, my mind never stops!” My response is; “that’s exactly why you need to learn this sacred and priceless practice.” As most HSPs know, being in a hurry does not serve us. It is very destructive for HSPs to be in a hurry in any situation. By the same token, having our minds begin the day in a hurry, is just as detrimental to our Being. Thus, beginning the day with the very basic practice of yogic belly breathing is essential. Repeating this exercise just before you fall asleep is equally as important to close the door on the day. Let it go, put it to rest, so that you can rest fully. Once clients agree to make this a daily practice, they are always amazed by the immediate change in their lives.
After someone has mastered the 5 minute breathing morning and night, we might then add in a word, a mantra (repeated word or phrase), or an affirmation to this practice. Often gratitude may be featured in these words. I will need to explain these further in another blog, as there is now true science supporting these practices and their effects on the brain. For now, I am giving my blog-viewers a bullet-format of HSP therapy.
Please consider this … if we are struggling with overwhelm or anxiety from the moment we wake up, then we must be willing to try new things from the moment we wake up. “I can’t” will leave you stuck exactly where you are. We cannot expect anything to change if we do not step out of our routines and insist upon that change. No one said it would be easy. I’m only saying that it is worth the effort in order to enjoy more peace in our every day lives.
Photo by The Random Hiccup