Monday, June 23, 2014

Breathe (file this under annoying advice that actually works)

I have cold feet about Friday's date. It's not something I can really explain right now. I have to sort out what's going on inside.

Anyway, today something interesting happened at the dentist. So, I'm like, terrified of the dentist now, right? A culmination of some painful experiences has turned into an aversion that I have to seriously fight.

Well I was sitting in the dental chair going "FUCK! I never took my freaking heart pill!" (the one that makes it less likely for stress hormones to send it into an abnormal rhythm) and I thought well, now that it's just me vs. me with no medical assistance, let's try that goddamn deep breathing exercise I read about.

So, whenever the body's in fight or flight mode, the sympathetic nervous system is activated. This is in order to prepare us to take down a saber-toothed tiger or scale a tree to get away from the woolly mammoth (good luck with that, btw).

Well, every system in the body has a series of checks and balances that exist equal & opposite of each other, and if you want to calm down the sympathetic nervous system, you activate the parasympathetic nervous system (to release hormones that will combat the adrenaline & cortisol, etc.).

I'm pondering this idea while in the dental chair, brain screaming neither rational thoughts nor ones that responded to rational thought (for example, telling yourself, "Shut UP, you're not going to die!" is not useful). So I decided well, since my brain is basically not helping here, I need to otherwise trick my body into calming the fuck down in a way that doesn't involve the brain.

How, you may ask? Easy. Breathe slow as fuck.

So I deep-breathed through the entire appointment and for the first 20 minutes, the only thing actually accomplished was having something to pay attention to *besides* worrisome thoughts. But progress, right? It *was* actually useful, even if only by 10%.

But then something *happened* at the 20 minute mark.

I actually began to FEEL relaxed.

Floored, I sat there, calm as fuck, basking in this powerful new feeling. It takes about 19 minutes for your body to clear of the fight or flight hormones, so maybe that's where the magic number came from? Or maybe it was the placebo effect. Either way I hope I can tap into this again when I get some fillings redone in a couple weeks.

(Sent from my phone)

1 comment:

  1. be the master of you is a good feeling. [Amazing what you know and can do]