What is it about change, especially unexpected change, that brings those big life questions to the surface?
You feel like you’ve just got into a nice rhythm, life seems to be going fairly well and you feel quite cushty. Yet, occasionally you lie in bed and wonder if you stayed in this rhythm for the rest of your life, would you be truly satisfied? You try to ignore those little niggles telling you that you’ll only be twenty six once, or however old you are, and nudging you to be more adventurous and take leaps while you’re young!
Those “Is this it?” thoughts that come over us like a large black thunder cloud are actually a positive thing. They jolt us out of monotonous patterns that aren’t serving our growth, no matter how comfortable those monotonous patterns may feel. Be it the relationship, the career, your fitness levels - ANYTHING. If there’s potential for more, which there usually always is, that little niggle will keep on niggling.
That niggle, I now realise, has been with me for a few months now in relation to multiple areas of my life. At times I used the excuse that “I just dream too big” and need to downsize my aspirations a little trying to convince myself that the quiet life was what I truly wanted. I was convinced that the only things that were truly important post pandemic were stability, predictability and peace. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still crave stability, seeing as the majority of my upbringing was quite unstable despite being a very happy childhood.
But here’s the thing.
I was trying to create stability against circumstances naturally presenting themselves to enhance my personal and professional growth and progression. I was resisting the inevitability of change to avoid the discomfort it often brings with it. Ironically, through my resistance and need for control, I got super duper uncomfortable. Nothing felt “quite right”, I started doubting everything, becoming unsure of where I was meant to be and what it was I was supposed to be doing with my life. The uncertainty I had created for myself was so overwhelming, I totally numbed out.
A wonderful mentor of mine said something that really shifted my thinking. Two words;“Live deliberately”
She elaborated by saying; “Even if its a decision that doesn’t work out, mistakes are great teachers. It’s all happening for you.”
And that’s the moment when I put my big girl pants on and made some really scary, difficult decisions. Now I’m relocating, again, rocking the single life and have just started a new job where the amount I learn on a daily basis is off the scale. I’ve got a stinking cold, am still recovering from the stress of all of the above, I have clothes in three different locations and yet, I feel as if the wheels are finally turning again. I feel an excitement about the possibilities of the future and a humbling around the amount I have to learn and the potential I have yet to step into.
Still with me? Here comes to juicy bit.
I’ve learnt, in order to live deliberately and withstand the discomfort that the impermanence of life so often brings we must have 1. AWARENESS, in order to regulate ourselves to prevent a chronic stress cycle we must have the ability to be aware of how we’re feeling, thinking and perceiving our current set of circumstances. 2. A CONTINGENCY PLAN, here’s where a regular breathing practise comes in handy. Breath work is not like paracetamol. Its not reserved for when you’re not feeling so hot. It’s a daily practise that builds resilience over time so that when a stressful occurrence arises, you can handle it and you have the ability to regulate yourself back to a place of balance.
Now, let’s not be vague. What breath work would I recommend every one practise on a daily basis regardless of how well your life is going?
CADENCE BREATHING - breathing at a respiratory rate of 5.5 - 6 breaths per minute is the best known breathing rate to balance the nervous system, increase head to heart coherence and HRV (heart rate variability). HRV is a measure of how you respond to stress, high HRV is associated with good levels of resilience.
Practised regularly, Cadence breathing can improve your nervous systems ability to regulate itself so that you don’t end up being thrown into that deadly loop of survival mode, when all the bodily functions not deemed vital to survival like digestion, the menstrual cycle for example, are dimmed. Hence why, conditions like IBS and leaky gut are directly linked to chronic stress. You don’t need to do this practise for hours on end, a short 5-10 minute practise, ideally in the morning and evening can trigger some serious health upgrades.
Here’s how to do it:
- Sit or lie comfortably - if its the morning, I’d suggest you sit so you don’t end up sleepy.
- Find a straight spine and open body. Gently bring the lips together, placing the tip of the tongue on the roof of the mouth and start to breathe in and out through your nose.
- Gently, breathe in for 1,2,3,4,5 and pause and breathe out for 1,2,3,4,5 and pause finding a lateral expansion and contraction of the lower ribs with every inhale and exhale.
Think of this exercise and your non-negotiable. You’re always breathing, so there’s really no excuse.
No matter how hap-hazard and inconsistent your life feels right now, good things are coming. Stay open, stay curious and for gods sake, keep breathing!
Love Georgie x
PS. Upon reading the update on my last few weeks. I hope you can forgive me for my newsletters also being spontaneous. Once I find my rhythm, my posts and writings will too.