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Contracting, reacting... The physical impact of fear & stress and exercises to overcome emotional breathing patterns

Elise Watts

The examiner was tapping his pen on the desk with somewhat of an impatient air. At any other time, this would have gone unnoticed, yet in this moment of heightened awareness his nuance became petrifyingly loud. He sat in front of me with a stare that appeared to permeate my skin, this flimsy barrier rapidly draining of blood as the silence drew on. I knew the answer but for a split second my memory stalled.

Acutely aware of each passing moment, a mild panic began to rise. “Tell me,” probed the examiner, “what you understand of stress and the central nervous system…” I cleared my throat, “well…” I hesitated, the irony that my experience of stress had jammed my ability to answer the question was not lost. I took a deep breath. Fortunately, at that moment the words came flooding back. I collected myself and began…