You Can Fight This
We often hear words such as “fighting” and “battle” when discussing how to deal with chronic illness. The body has a specific response to fighting, but this response isn’t intended for use all the time. When this response is engaged, the body can experience increased blood pressure, heart rate, perspiration, and a decrease in the efficiency of the digestive system. The muscles of the arms, legs, and heart get increased circulation so that the body can escape a threatening or stressful situation. However, when the threat is coming from within, there is no place to escape. As a result, it’s important to learn how you can respond.
Give Yourself a Break
Just as the body has a response to fighting, it also has a “relaxation” response. Anyone can access this response, but it may be especially important for those facing a chronic illness. One step toward this relaxation response is taking full, deep breaths. To start, follow these steps:
- Sit in a quiet spot, with your back supported and feet flat on the floor.
- Take in slow, full breaths through the mouth and let the abdomen expand.
- Exhale through the mouth and let the exhale be very relaxed, don’t push it out.
Doing this a couple minutes a day can make a big difference to your mind and body. If you have a respiratory or cardiac issue, talk to your primary caregiver before starting a new breath practice.