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Stress and breathing

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Romain, Aug 14, 2021.

  1. Romain

    Romain New Member

    Hello everyone,
    One of my many symptoms is having trouble breathing due to strain in my back and rib cage.
    It bothers me in my job as an actor where I have to speak loudly.
    I know for a fact that this is due to my emotions.
    However, as Dr. Sarno and Claire Weekes point out, I must have had a hard time not giving a damn, dealing with, and letting go, because it keeps me from performing as well as I would like. .
    I know hundreds of breathing exercises, but when the stress is high it helps me little ...
    And anyway the tensions come back 5 minutes later ...
    Can you help me ?
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Romain,

    I'll recommend my favorite breathing practice. But this may not be what you're asking for, and more importantly I'll say something about all breathing practice, from my perspective.

    The benefit of breathing mindfully for me personally is that it invokes mindfulness, that it can bring me into the present moment. This is huge, and it is temporary, because as I lose my focus, I am lost again in thoughts and strategies, my familiar, unmindful sense of self.

    My point here for you (and me) is that the breath can take me deep, and it is in that depth where healing occurs, when I'm there. I can't really expect it to help me when I'm not there, except perhaps that I know a place to go when I need it. And also that on my nervous system as a whole, the more time I go there, the more time out of the day I am in a more rested state. And, when I get done with the one I'll explain, it leaves me relaxed for a little bit afterward. But what I want to emphasize to you is that there is a 'presence' which I can enter, which is being present with the moment, and it is only real in the practice itself. It is sort of paradoxical what I am saying, but it is immensely important that I remember my breath when I am under stress, because it is a route out of my identities with fixing, and changing the moment --into a resting place, even for a few seconds.

    So, maybe this is not what you're after, but I'll proceed with my favorite.

    Counting to 6 slow counts while breathing in through the nose, then out to 8 counts through slightly pursed lips, just enough closed lips to create a little resistance, not like blowing out a candle. I base the counts on my lung capacity, and when I teach this, some folks find in-breath should be 4 and out breath should be 6. Or, as I do this for several breaths, I might make each part longer, more counts. Just about 6 rounds of this takes me into a more relaxed state.

    The other very basic practice to come into the moment is simply to notice your breath without judgement whenever you are lost in thought, planning, or emotional upset. Just a few noticed breaths helps me.
    Ellen and hawaii_five0 like this.
  3. Romain

    Romain New Member

    Thanks for your answer Andy,
    Yes I understand what you mean by being there, present to my sensations ...
    The thing is that sometimes being present to my breathing is very unpleasant because I can hardly breathe because the oppression is so strong!
  4. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    The thing is that sometimes being present to my breathing is very unpleasant because I can hardly breathe because the oppression is so strong!

    I think here one courageous approach is to use your breath as a way to keep one foot in the moment, and support for yourself to feel this unpleasantness as deeply as you can tolerate for a few minutes a day. Consciously and mindfully, learning in time that it is not dangerous.
  5. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

  6. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Romain, when I was 11, I started having strange bouts of strained breathing. My back, rib cage and diaphragm would get tense and tie in a knot, and I would be unable to breathe without a struggle sometimes even for hours at a time. It all started when I was riding a bus, the bus was going over the railroad tracks and it kicked me up in the air, very unexpectedly, so I was frightened. After I landed back on the seat, quite hard, it was difficult to breathe. The spasm went away in a few minutes after the incident, but kept returning, as if I was re-living that moment time and over again, for the next 40+ years. I no longer have those attacks, they disappeared with my last major TMS incident 6 years ago and never came back after I recovered using TMS approach, exactly in line with Dr. Sarno's observation that TMS symptoms tend to supersede each other and present themselves one at a time, until mental issues are addressed.

    When it happens, it is very hard to think rationally and do the right thing, which is to try to relax. I would highly recommend a daily practice of meditation, which will prepare you to learn how to handle your anxiety attacks, but will also stabilize your nervous system and prevent attacks from happening. Meditation helped me immensely to heal. Give it a try!

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