Updated: Mar 22
Within the very first few steps through the office front doors of my brand spanking new, high end tech sales job, i knew there was something wrong ...
In almost impeccable timing, the minute i entered the building i found myself breathing as if an invisible elephant had landed on my chest.
If you are somebody who has experienced anxiety before, you may well be familiar with this feeling. The best way i can describe this feeling is that i am unsatisfied with the volume of air that i am able to breathe in. It feels as if i cannot take a full inhalation, like that final feeling of fulfilment is just never reached. I have heard another teacher explain this like reaching that final 'click' at the end of an inhalation.
When this first began it left me feeling overwhelmingly panicked. My body, thrust into this unknown environment, drastically tried everything it could to throw warning signs at me, but at this point in my evolution i was unable to join the dots.
During my interview and for the first few weeks of the role i just could not stop yawning. Gosh was it embarrassing, sitting in front of my new colleagues with this insatiable & completely uncontrollable desire to yawn all throughout the day.
This heaviness that had made its weigh to my chest was something i had not experienced before. It stayed with me for an incredibly long time. So much so, that i thought i had developed a rare form of Asthma or had developed my first ever allergy to something in the office or in my new home.
Classic of the NHS they were unable to identify to me that it may simply be stress causing me this distress. Instead the tests i had came back negative and left me even more confused than when i started.
It's clear to me now that it was no coincidence that these restrictions on my breath appeared when they did.
Deep down, my subconscious knew that not only was this role not in alignment with my true purpose or desire, but also that I was most likely unable to deal with the stress this job would cause in me as a result of meeting KPI's & sales manager expectations.
It was not until nearly 8 months later when i left this job that my breathing returned to normal.
The whispers, which eventually turned to screams from my body, mind & soul finally disappeared leaving me only with the lessons that they had to teach me.
I look back at this experience with total gratitude.The thing which we refer to as 'I', 'You' or 'Me', whichever you want to refer to it, is an incredibly intelligent ecosystem. A community of different systems, predominantly working in harmony to create the conscious experience of life that we all identify with.
This complex & highly intelligent system is constantly relaying information back to us via our breath & other bodily functions.
For me, my number 1 method of stress identification comes from the subtle messages that my breathing communicates to me.
As soon as any restriction returns or tightness becomes noticeable, i know there is something going on that i need to watch out for and be aware of.
Now, tightness/restriction/heaviness is absolutely not the only way that the breath is communicating with us, the speed, sharpness the smoothness & the flow are all important qualities to begin to tune your conscious awareness to. However, undoubtedly it is in my personal experience the biggest warning sign and alarm bell that i need to take more conscious awareness of where i am spending my energy, the choices i am making & how these may impact me on a deeper subconscious level.
I treat these signs as messages from the deepest, wisest part of my being. The part of me that knows I am stressed even before I am consciously aware. And for this heads up, i am absolutely grateful.
I have been on a journey of developing my conscious awareness of my bodily sensations, breath awareness and state of mind such that i am much more readily able to know what i need in order to live a more harmonious, healthy & happy life.
The breath has become like a best friend to me. It will pull me up and tell me straight how things really are and by having a daily breathing practice incorporated into my morning routine, i am more self aware & ready to handle what life throws at me then i have ever been.
So, if you are just like me & have an invisible elephant that sometimes comes along & makes a seat out of your chest, believe it or not, this may be one of the biggest blessings that you will ever receive. The intuitive inner wisdom of your being is rearing its head to warn you that something is not quite right.
If you have the courage & will power to take a peak inside, identify the changes you might need to make and them implement them, this is an extremely potent tool for your self growth.
A daily practice of conscious breathing awareness alongside equipping yourself with various breathing, meditation and mindfulness toolkits, is a fantastic place to start.