Creating Calm in a World with Uncertainty
By Lindsay Leimbach
According to psychiatrist James Gordon, the founder of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, D.C., the pandemic creates anxiety, uncertainty, and isolation for many. These feelings are similar in some ways to what communities feel when enduring war, mass school shootings, opioid epidemics, or climate-related disasters. These feelings activate our human stress response and turn on the Fight-Flight response.
Gordan explains the first action we need to do is calm our Amygdala. The Amygdala is part of the brain that becomes activated when anxiety, uncertainty, or isolation are felt. The quickest way to activate a calming effect is through our breath. By taking a breath, you can bring yourselves back into biological, psychological balance. From this balance, a choice can be made to address the feelings that you may be facing.
Gordan states that it can be done this easily: “To calm that down, we start with slow, deep breathing—in through the nose, out through the mouth, with the belly soft and relaxed. You do that for about 10 minutes, and your heart rate slows, blood pressure goes down, and you’re calmer and less irritable. This helps you realize that you can make a difference in how you feel.” When you realize that you can make a difference, you understand that you have the power of inner control.
The realization that you have the capacity to have inner control of your mind instills inner self-trust. Having this awareness enables you to realize that you may not have all the answers, but you can sit with uncertainty without losing your balance. After calmly breathing, you will have the ability to have a clearer, be calmer, and have a centered way of thinking. With inner control and self-trust, you can take in the facts of the moment much like a detective. You can have the ability to keep asking questions without making a quick conclusion with an anxious mindset. You can more clearly ask for help, seek support and take positive actions.
The Breath is the beginning. The calming effect opens room in mind for positive change even during the pandemic. After your breath, the skill of Stress Shifting is the next step. Facing, Focusing, Freeing, and Flowing can occur even when you live in an uncertain world. Learn more at StressShifter.com