14 Sep 2020 The Neglected Stress Impact of a Chronic Illness
“Psychological factors can trigger a breathing pattern that might be appropriate to an emergency situation, when no such emergency exists”. This is an extract from a book on breathing pattern disorders. I became so interested in breathing patterns the more I worked with our hypermobile community. It’s now a passion of mine and it is why breathing is the number one principle in my Integral Movement Method for Hypermobility. Breathing comes first. Movement second.
The stress, trauma and psychological side of a condition like EDS or HSD is often overlooked or diminished by some in the medical world. I’ve heard too many stories over the years from our community and clients about how “it’s all in your head”, “just get on with it” and “learn to live with it”. This stress especially if this goes on for months or years, which is often the case sadly, can lead to breathing patterns driven by fight or flight. We begin to live in this state where the sympathetic nervous system is on high and we spend little time in our parasympethetic nervous system. And no wonder. We feel vulnerable, unheard and worried. We feel we have to fight to everything – just to be heard and recognised. That is tiring, exhausting and stressful These breathing patterns are exacerbated by pain and fear of movement. And if we can’t breathe efficiently, then movement is always going to be so much harder.
Teaching people to breathe again is an essential part of beginning to enjoy pain-free movement. If your body and mind stay in fight or flight, no amount of well-intentioned exercise will give lasting results. This is why I spend time here enjoying the simple pleasure of breathing and relaxing. I’ve had people burst into tears when they take a full exhale for the first time in years. It’s very freeing emotionally. It allows you to shift to a new place.
Sitting or lying down in a quiet space and simply listening to the sound of your own breath for two minutes is an easy place to start. It will start to calm the nervous system and bring your attention to a sense of rest in the body. Why not try it now?
Find a comfortable and warm place to sit or lie. Close the eyes and listen to the sound of your breath coming and going. Don’t try to change it or challenge it. Simply feel it and hear it. Notice each breath is different to the one before. Notice the body starts to ease with each breath. This is an extremely nourishing practice. This is an act of self-care. Well done in taking this time out to spend time looking after yourself.
You can find plenty of information and tips about hypermobility, EDS and pain management over on my YouTube channel which is dedicated to our community and sharing knowledge on how to manage this condition. I hope you find it useful. Here’s the link: