How to stop hyperventilating

Today my chest was a lot heavier than usual. Everything between my neck and my navel was one big knot, and I couldn’t untie it, no matter how hard I tried.

I tried sitting on the boardwalk of the lagoon, talking to a friend, and eating lunch. I tried reassuring myself that it would pass, thinking that people are inherently good, thinking that all of this is actually real and means something. But none of it really worked. Every minute or so I was still experiencing asphyxiation-like anxiety. It was awful.

What helped me stop hyperventilating was walking. Not regular walking. But walking slowly with no particular destination. This was advice from a dear friend who had suffered from anxiety and stress a few years ago. She was nice to have by my side today. I am grateful for her presence and wisdom. She made me believe in people. (One of the many reasons I get stressed like this is because I stop believing in people. I lose their trust.) My We Roam family also helps me believe in people on a daily basis.

Your mind can be a prison if you let it. All you need to do is not let it. You need to focus on something, anything. You need to find a creative outlet. And when all else fails, go for a walk. Smile when you walk. Know that your body is a self-healing vessel. It doesn’t need your mind’s help. Just let it do its thing. It’s better off without you.

Another piece of advice my friend gave me is to “feel grounded.” Let your upper back and traps go slack. Feel gravity. Let go of intentions and plans. Just be. I have heard this advice before, but it means something when it comes from the soul of someone you respect.