Updated: Mar 18, 2022
Welcome to My Life Coaching Blog.
The word is: BREATHE
Definition: Per Merriam-Webster Dictionary: "To feel free of restraint"
BREATHE. Please take a moment and say the word softly to yourself and notice what a genuinely calming effect the sound of such a small word can have. Breathe.
Years before I was a Life Coach, I was a Childbirth Educator and a Labor Coach. Childbirth can conjure up images from our own experiences, or the portrayal of births in movies, on TV or, by reading about it in books. In my training, I learned the process of breathing in childbirth is pivotal. During labor, breathing is a tool for distraction from the pain and a means of delivering oxygen needed to fuel both mother and child. It is what helps women to keep going, to keep progressing, and ultimately, to deliver a new life. So, I invite you now to continue reading, breathe normally and enjoy my story.
My Story on Breathe:
Do you know how sometimes a memory stays with you your entire life? You may not have all the details in place but you remember the impact it had on you then and the message it continues to carry. Every time I think about childbirth, I think of a paper I wrote for a Sociology class my sophomore year of college. The focus was on how different the childbirth experience can be from one culture to another. I took the journey of several women in my research. I remember typing slowly and breathing normally as I formulated my research thoughts into sentences and transferred those sentences onto a page.
There was one particular woman I recall who was laboring ever so slowly. Her breaths got longer and deeper as she progressed, keeping her pain down and her oxygen levels up. As she continued along this steady path, I could feel a change in my own body. I had started slow and steady while typing and then fell in step with the breathing rhythm of her labor. And so it went for a while. As the last stage of her labor set in, I continued to type but I found myself so caught up in what I was typing, that I began typing faster and faster. It was as if I too were in labor, breathing and pushing along with the woman I was writing about. I felt my fingers hitting the keys harder and harder as if my typing would somehow take away her pain or deliver the baby sooner. I felt that way for a good few minutes. Had anyone been in my room watching me, they surely would have called for a doctor. I was sweating and breathing heavily along with the words I was putting on the page. Then came my final sentence, sharing the baby's first cry, the joy that the pain was gone, the baby was healthy, and the labor, although exhausting at times, had passed. My sweating and heavy breathing also passed, so no doctor was necessary. It became clear that what I was experiencing was visceral.
The empowering ability to control our breath during childbirth cannot be understated. In the same way, neither can the empowering effects of controlled breathing on reducing stress and anxiety in our day-to-day lives. Note that I was typing faster and faster, when the woman was in pain. My own stress level was rising as I experienced her progressing labor, similar to stress levels rising when the pain of life can get somewhat unbearable.
Our bodies and minds react by shutting down when stressed. The rhythm of deep cleansing breaths allows us to take a step back long enough for our bodies to open up, refuel and re-energize. We come away with a clearer head and a more relaxed body so we can better manage whatever is challenging us. As with childbirth, our power over our bodies through breathing, can help take away the pain, feel healthy again and know that our labors, although exhausting at times, will pass so that we too can enjoy a new life.
If you find yourself needing help relieving stress and would like to learn some breathing exercises I hope you’ll email me.
Thank you for reading my blog and for checking back next week when the word will be ACCEPTANCE.