The Windy City. Have you ever been? I’ve spent the last 22 hours in Chicago. In this short amount of time, I’ve learned something about myself:

Crowded streets make me anxious as fuck!

The traffic on the roads, the amount of people surrounding you on the sidewalks… Both of those situations made my anxiety escalate to a 10. I tend to associate my anxiety more with my trauma memories; however, after this trip, it is pretty evident that I have anxiety related to other things as well.

I spent much of yesterday snapping at my husband and being super bitchy and stressed out. About halfway through the day, I realized it was anxiety-driven.

So, what do you do to deescalate your anxiety in those situations?

Yesterday, I worked on focusing on my breathing: inhale through my nose for 5 counts, exhale through my nose for 7 counts. I used my 3-part breath exercises, making sure belly, ribs, and collarbone expanded and deflated. I love breathing exercises for several reasons:

  1. Your breath tells a lot about how you’re feeling so I can start by just noticing where it is at that moment, and then when I’ve finished my exercises there is a noticeable difference in my breath.
  2. You can do them anywhere 
  3. You can’t think about killing yourself when you’re focused on breathing exercises 🙂

By 5pm last night, 7 hours after arriving in Chicago, I had gotten my anxiety under control. There was a time when this wouldn’t have happened. Breathing is a big part of yoga. I think my experiences with breathwork and yoga have definitely transferred off the mat. It’s such an effictive tool for me in lowering my anxiety level.