Updated: May 2, 2020
"The coronavirus pandemic is awakening multi-millions to the reality of our interconnectedness. We are all in this together, which can turn out to be the bright side of it all. Yes, millions are isolated by ‘shelter in place’ or separated by ‘social distancing’, yet sensing that it’s now time to care for each other more than ever." —Doc Childre, HeartMath founder
Every person in the world is being affected by Novel COVID-19. Our collective anxiety, fear, vibrates through all of us around the world. Every economy has been affected personally, locally, nationally and globally. Anxiety and Fear have become inseparable partners in the time of COVID 19. Humanity is in this together and we can get to the other side of this together.
In a recent conversation with a client, Theresa, she expressed deep concern for a group of her fun loving friends. They recently moved their morning get togethers over coffee to online coffee get togethers, but the usual chattery fun was replaced with hyper-imaginative minds feeding anxiety and fear. What if they get COVID? What if they lose their jobs, their money? How will they pay their mortgage, bills, car notes?... The online get together was an unsettling roller coaster ride of anxious, fear based emotions. She desperately wanted to know if I would reach out to her friends to help them through this crisis using evidence based, HeartMath™ techniques.
This brought up a discussion about anxiety and fear emotions in general. What happens when these powerful emotions trigger survival based beliefs, which in turn devastate our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual balance (resilience). According to Ralph Lewis MD, "Beliefs are our brain’s way of making sense of and navigating our complex world. They are mental representations of the ways our brains expect things in our environment to behave, and how things should be related to each other—the patterns our brain expects the world to conform to. Beliefs are templates for efficient learning and are often essential for survival." Our minds have done their best in sounding the alarm and for many during this pandemic, resilience (inner balance) in the time of COVID is a distant past. Having empathy and compassion for ourselves and others is important, which Theresa demonstrated, but she had gone beyond empathy and compassion, into over-care. When this happens, we become energy depleted.
The life coaching session, based in sharing evidence based HeartMath™ techniques, continued. Our thoughts (mind) and emotions activate two main physiological systems, our hormonal and autonomic nervous system. When we stress, our bodies release Cortisol hormones readying for the immediate challenge, our primal survival mode of fight or flight. It's an adrenaline rush. After the rush comes the crash. These energy depleting hormones stay in our system for hours. If we continuously default to this state of being, this can result in chronic issues, including addiction to the rush. When we are in a state of ease, joy, compassion, love, our bodies release energizing hormones allowing our bodies to relax, to heal. I posed a question: What if we choose energizing hormones as a default instead? Theresa gasped asking, how can you choose energizing hormones when our whole world is devastated? That's...ludicrous...out of touch...the rant went on.
After Theresa completed her response, I asked the question, "What did you notice while you were expressing your thoughts, your emotions?" She answered, "stressed, anxious, angry, afraid..." then a sudden insightful look of discovery accompanied with "Wow! Wow! WOW!-having someone attentively listen to me in a safe, non-judgmental way... with no interruptions. Just WOW. I feel a weight has lifted." When we explore our anxiety, our fears we can release them. Through mindful awareness and listening to the heart, we can choose again.
After Theresa's awareness and intentional release of her depleting emotions, I led her through a heart focused, energy renewing breathing technique for several minutes. I asked another question, "What did you notice after pausing for a few minutes, slowing your mind through shifting your focus, and slowing and deepening your breath?" She looked surprised and said, "I felt and feel a sense of calm, a sense of being grounded."
Two more questions to Theresa, "How could you use this in your life? and "What would this do for you?"
The HeartMath™ techniques and technologies are life changing. Anxiety and fear are energy depleting emotions inducing a constant state of stress. We have the power through awareness, our breath and our hearts to self generate inner ease. This regenerates/renews energy in normal and stress filled circumstances. If we shift our inner world, we shift our outer world consciously creating what we want.
Heart focused breathing reduces the intensity of depleting emotions and increases renewing emotions building a state of ease. Use this exercise when you notice a state of dis-ease creeping in or one that has you in its grips. This is not a meditation, it is a deep breathing process used on the go in the moment. For long lasting results, practice this technique several times a day as part of your self care routine.
Heart Focused Breathing™ Technique
Focus your attention in the area of the heart.
Imagine your breath is flowing in and out of your heart or chest area, breathing a little slower and deeper than usual.
Suggestion: Inhale 5 seconds, exhale 5 seconds (or whatever rhythm is comfortable)
Continue this deep, intentional breathing for several minutes until you feel less anxiety.