by Donna Quesada: My Jewish grandmother was joking when she said once, “we’re just nervous people.”
I must have asked “why does that make you nervous, Grandma?” I don’t even remember the context anymore. My son and I still giggle when we remember this, not just because it’s a funny thing to say, but because we are nervous people.
Being a nervous person by nature can take many forms. It can manifest as general anxiety, or as specific phobic reaction to certain triggers. It is often the driving force behind the constant need to be excessively busy. It can also show up as overwhelm. And so to manage feeling overwhelmed, we try to over-manage our lives.
It seems contradictory… the inability to sit still and the tendency to fall easily into the feeling of overwhelm. But in both cases, it’s a reaction to having lost the feeling of connection to yourself. And by “yourself,” I mean… your Self. Or rather, that still space within. The God within. What Esther Hicks calls Source Energy.
When I have too much on my plate (and everyone’s overwhelm point is different), my head becomes full of worries about all the things I have to do. And all of it is fear based… what if things don’t go right? How will I get it all done?It’s usually all mundane stuff… concerns about our affairs in the world. But, what we really crave—even if we don’t realize it or couch it in these terms—is the feeling of reconnection with spirit that comes with getting still again. That’s how it works… when we are too “in our head,” we’re not in our heart, which is the portal to spirit.
But moreover, when we are in our head, we forget to breathe, which creates tension in the body and compounds the feeling of anxiety and nervousness. So, we enter into a loop, in which we become anxious, forget to breathe, and then become more anxious.
The meditation below requires us to suspend the breath on both the inhale and the exhale, which strengthens our nervous system. The in-hold strengthens the sympathetic branch, which fortifies our capacity to deal with stress so that we don’t lose our center, while the out-hold strengthens the parasympathetic branch, which helps us deepen our ability to relax. We also train ourselves to regain control over our breathing, so that it doesn’t take over during challenging times.
As we breathe and get still, we return to our comfortable abode in our heart space, which is where safety lives…where we trust in the universe and most importantly, in ourselves, so that there is no longer any need to feel doubtful, anxious or nervous.
Meditation: Balancing the Nervous Energies
Posture & Mudra: Sit comfortably on a chair or a cushion, while lengthening your spine, up through the crown of your head. Your eyes are lightly closed. With your elbows bent, raise your hands up until they meet at the level of the heart a few inches away from your body, with your palms facing your chest.
Place the palm of your right hand against the back of your left hand. Hold your hands and forearms parallel to the ground so that the fingers of your right hand point toward the left side and the fingers of the left hand point toward the right side. Press the thumb tips together.
Breath: Inhale deeply through your nose and calmly hold your breath in for 15-20 seconds. Now, exhale completely through your nose and calmly hold your breath out for 15-20 seconds. Concentrate on your breath. Continue for three – five minutes on the first day, progressing to 11 minutes when you feel ready.