A tingling sensation takes over your body, making its way up to the crown of the head, like a coiled firecracker string ready to blow. There’s tightening of the chest and tears welling up in the eyes as you begin to collapse from the inside out. It’s those first few introspective thoughts when all the fear and anxiety kicks in: I’m having a meltdown.
If you are quite familiar with this scenario, first of all, you’re not alone. According to World of Psychology one in three Americans suffer from a mental disorder in any given year. With all the pressure we carry of constantly being connected online, balancing careers with parenthood, and having to continuously reinvent ourselves; it’s no wonder we wind up on the floor in a fetal position gasping for space to breathe.
Having an emotional crisis? Follow this grounding meditation to prevent those moments of panic or meltdown and reconnect with your breath:
Come to sit in a chair with both feet parallel and firmly planted into the ground, like two heavy tree roots. Sit at the edge of the seat so your back is straight, as if there was a string lengthening your spine from the tailbone up through the crown of the head. Place the palms face down onto the thighs and let the front ribs remain soft. Keep the eyes closed or gazing down a few feet forward.
Inhale as you balloon the belly out, filling the chest, lungs, and abdomen, and exhale deeply, drawing the navel towards the spine. Continue breathing like this for a few minutes. With each inhale, can you breathe in something that gives you joy (your children, pet, beach house, best friend) and with each exhale, can you release something that is no longer there to serve your highest good (money troubles, job stress, health concerns, loneliness).
Begin to silently repeat the mantra “so hum” and when the mind starts to wander to thoughts of fear and anxiety, which it most likely will, come back to these two powerful syllables meaning, “I am.” Don’t worry about placing a phrase after the words “I am”—continue to repeat silently, helping the psyche remember: I am more expansive than the negative thought patterns in my mind.
When you feel your breathing cycles find a slower, deeper rhythm, let go of the mantra and let the sound of your breath take you inwards before you come out. Once we quiet the mind, only then can we can see the truth behind our meltdown.
Photo Credit: Tom Hart