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Breathe to Hear Your Body by Dr. Kathleen Rickard

In times of emotional upheaval and grief, our bodies are also affected. Why? There are many important functions of the body set up to protect us from real and perceived danger. When we are stressed, the nervous system, the hormonal system, the organ system, and the energetic system are all on high alert to be of assistance. With chronic stress, these and other systems of the body begin to malfunction and send even louder messages that we feel as body failures. All these changes can feel very frustrating.

We have ways to understand the lack of ease in our bodies under stress. The first step is to recognize that the body is not failing because why would it give up without a fight? The body is needed and wants to protect itself. The body then is the messenger for its own sake and for protection from stress.

So, after understanding that first step, the second step is to pause, give time to listen to the body. How? Through the breath. Too simple? So many functions require the nerves to receive information about fight/ flight/ freeze and if we can stop, slow the breath, expand the belly, drop the shoulders while breathing, we have a very useful key to knowing what the body wants and for healing.

Give it a try! See the body with gratitude, breathe slowly and mindfully, and from there ask, ” what does my body need now?”