Recently I underwent surgery to correct my nasal passages and some trouble breathing that I experienced. The 2 1/2 hour routine surgery became 4 1/2 hours of reconstruction and my world shifted in new and very challenging directions. I've felt disconnected from reality and more than a little worn thin. I had high expectations of my body after the surgery, but it has been an active and day-to-day struggle to bring myself into the moment and remain present and calm.
I am reminded today (as I work to breathe) that pain keeps us disconnected and stuck in a fight or flight panic where our bodies are just focused on surviving. We struggle with a reduced ability to fight infections and lower healing rates when our bodies are put into high gear to fight for our life or flee the danger.
Being in the present moment, however, gives our bodies a very key tool -- the use of our body's own parasympathetic system. Research supports the use of the relaxation phase of our bodies for increasing healing from surgeries like mine, from stress induced injuries to the body, from emotional trauma and sexual dysfunctions.
Yoga, meditation, prayer and simple breath work can allow us to return to the moment in front of us instead of worrying about "what if." The calm tells our bodies that it is time to quit fighting and start healing. Nutrients and blood flow will work to repair damaged tissues at an increased rate once we learn to slow down. The more I work to remain calm and centered in the current moment, the more I see that my body knits itself back together. One day of mindfulness is like a day and a half of fight / flight!
This surgery has taught me that Anna Corbett (www.joyinliving.com) definitely has her work cut out for her in Surgical Coaching. Techniques like breathing and mindfulness play a big part in recovering from surgeries like mine. Today, I set limits on when I should talk and gifted myself with the moment of healing with intent and decision.
Perhaps this long haul back to health will give me more tools to help the many clients I see who also need a moment of mindfulness to begin that healing.