In my experience, whilst meditating and breath work can be a relaxing thing to do for some; it can be deeply unsettling and anxiety inducing to others. It can quite frankly open a whole can of worms. If this resonates please know you are not alone!
Our breath is intrinsically linked to how we feel. Every breath we take moves our body. And my belief is that how we move equals how we feel and vice versa.
‘Meditation is good for you!‘...or is it?
However, the academic research into breath and meditation keep finding that these techniques are meant to alleviate anxiety. Very little is research looks at it being triggering. There are many reasons why the later is not recorded. One reason is that people who are triggered would most likely not voluntarily take part in a meditation or breathwork study to begin with.
I have seen on many occasions students and clients being triggered by both meditation and breathwork, so I know that it is a thing. So, what is going on? What are you meant to do, if breathwork or meditation does actually trigger you? What alternatives are there?
Feel safe in your body
My response would be…. to engage with breathwork and meditation you have to feel safe in your body. As I have said so often, the society we live in unfortunately doesn’t promote that we listen to our bodies to start of with. Follow this by traumatic events (accidents, injury, emotional pain…whatever level of trauma that may be) that are all stored away in our bodies. Top that off with our bodies not always ‘doing or responding’ how we (our minds) want them to and we have created an ideal scenario of distrust between the body and mind.
Having an anxiety attack is scary. Having one in response to engaging with something that everyone tells you is meant to be good for you, is terrifying. This scenario also brings up the self-doubting question ‘what is wrong with me’ . I get it! I once had an anxiety attack after an aromatherapy massage – the result – I have never had one again! But what are individuals who have anxiety meant to do if the one thing the media and everyone is talking about right now (eg. just meditate, just do the breath work) triggers the anxiety?
My answer would be get to know your body again, in a gentle way, so that you feel you can trust it.
Listen to your body
Listen to it speak, approach your body with curiosity and be kind to it, rather than frustrated with what you perceive it not to be doing.
By doing this you can slowly reconnect with your body and establish a balanced relationship with it.
Trust your body
Nurturing a trusting and supportive relationship between body and mind will allow you to hear what your body is saying. In turn will this will allow you to make decisions on what your body needs. It will allow you to find balance in a gentle manner.
If you would like any help re-establishing a balanced relationship with your body, without meditation or breathwork that might trigger you, please get in touch or attend my next Ground Yourself Workshop (to register click here)