Transitions come at many different times and take many different forms. Some are very clear: new job, new home, new relationship. Others may be more subtle. They may not always come at the most opportune times – and often – transitions will come grouped together (just to keep you on your toes!). Very simply, transition means change.
It also means: “Passage from one state, stage, or place to another; a movement, development, or evolution; or an abrupt change in energy state or level.” Clearly, there is some experience of action, movement, and activity. And whatever the external transition may be – our bodies will be directly affected in some way. How our bodies adjust, process, and react to these transitions may not always be so clear.
Over the past few weeks, I have been completely submersed in transition. Moving to a new home, and making some major career changes, I have not yet been able to fully come up for air. So many things have been changing all around me, and my body and breath have just been trying to keep up. During times of stress, increased pace, urgency, and change, many of us will engage in shallow breathing – using only the top part of our lungs to breathe. Often during these times of transition, there is a need to “keep moving,” which will likely result in increased adrenalin in the body and quicker breathing. Broken down, “hyper” “ventilation” literally means accelerated breath – or “over breathing.” The breath is the body’s tangible representation of how external stress has been manifested in the body. Stopping to notice the quality of your breath will give you some insight into your overall stress and energy level.
Though breathing is an autonomic function of the body, it is also something that we have conscious control over. When speaking about stress and adrenaline and “over breathing,” this is usually in reference to the inhalation of the breath. Exhaling is often something that can be more challenging for some. Have you ever just let out a big exhale? It’s your body way of saying “Thank You! Finally, I can let go.” Deep, full, slow, controlled exhales ground the body, and allow it to settle. To just be. This is often such a challenge for so many of us – myself included – especially recently! Practicing these deeper, slower exhales will root & connect us to our bodies. In essence, it will enable us to stay put for a while. Allowing the breath to settle – allowing our bodies to settle – and allowing life to settle & sink in. We will then be able to look at our lives from a more grounded and rooted place – no matter what may be changing around us.