Purposeful and Unconscious Natural Rhythms in Anxiety

 

This week's lecture topic excites me, both as a psychobiology student AND as a music industry student. I have been a singer my whole life, so breath and rhythm have always been at the forefront of my creative process. 

These past few weeks in Biotechnology and Art I have grown in an understanding that there are more connections between our biochemical state and natural environmental state that are intrinsic to how we function and internalize life events.

I woke up this morning, staring down a busy week, and noticed my heart rate spiking from the stress of my school assignments on top of my remote daytime job and my in-person night job. Like many others, when I am under excessive stress, I can no longer feel a physical connection to my environment, but I do feel a more physical awareness of my heart beat and its palpitations. I decided to really feel this internal rhythm while somewhat dissociated from my environmental state, until I could reduce the mental clutter being caused by my stress.

I placed one hand on the pulse of my neck and snapped out the rhythm with the other as I felt each beat.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1d53FsOHSsUgSlpHxy3NZZWrYp-Tx9gYn/view?usp=sharing

Once I started to become calm, I moved outside to listen to and record the natural rhythms occurring outside of my body.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/17KIK-t_BGsaz5rbizQTwuuJQWKoqEzSW/view?usp=sharing

I was surprised to find that the rhythms were actually quite hard to listen to against the hustle and bustle of LA life. Dogs barking, sirens passing, keys jingling. These all caught my ear for their inconsistent presence in my environment. However, as I reflect, I realize these chance occurrences exist as a pattern of rhythm and frequency as well. The siren continues to blare at the same tempo and frequency throughout its movement, regardless of my perception of it. The vibrational energy in jingling keys exists even when the volume is too low to perceive it.

The natural rhythms of life exist within and without our personal radii of awareness. 

Natural phenomena like yeast and fibroblast cells resonate through tiny sound waves inside atomic open space. In other words LIFE implies RESONANCE.

This led me to think about our discussion about circadian rhythms and the interconnectedness of our biological feedback loops with natural rhythms of night and day. We can experience a more complete relationship with nature, and the natural ways our body is built to function, by tapping into the natural rhythms that exist in and out of our personally curated experience. 

I wanted to see how re-framing my environment may have impacted my anxiety and heart rate.

In class we discussed the importance of mind-body-nature synchronicity and how when you are out of sync with the rhythms of your body cells, you are out of sync with the universe, bringing forth anxiety.

Anxiety is a sensitive topic for me. Anxiety disorders have been a consistent obstacle in my life through childhood and early adulthood. It can feel daunting to view anxiety as an incurable daily burden that will be with me through my life. Momentary anxiety focuses on the momentary a-synchronicity of mind, body, and physical state, and I found this to be a more liberating and constructive view point of anxiety than I am used to having.

Anxiety in the every day sense is fundamentally different from a diagnosed Anxiety Disorder, but identifying the biochemical rhythms in our brains as a reflection of our immediate perceptual state was freeing because it gave me an entry way to feel intervene in the cycles of anxiety that I often experience.

Now more in sync with my physical and perceptual state, although still quite anxious, I recorded my heartbeat again.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pLPjcQELdcKt9T88WSRE45p9708MHw1M/view?usp=sharing

My heart beat was still fast, but the palpitations no longer felt disembodied from my immediate environment.

I may have felt my heart beating in my chest, but I also felt the ground heating beneath my feet with the morning sun beaming overhead. I felt my strained breath but I also heard the frequencies of city sounds passing in and out of my hearing range. 

I felt more in control simply by being more attuned to these cycles, and wanted to take this level of control to the next step.

I disengaged from my focus on external sounds and thought about my internal rhythms once again. I knew in order to relieve some of that anxiety, I would need to practice the controlled rhythmic breathing that I learned in choir classes throughout school.

I felt the controlled inhale on a count of my choosing (between 1 and 8) and the vibrational frequency of one note that I would sing to expel the air on whatever count matched the inhale. 

For example, if I inhaled for 2 beats I would have to expel all the air through singing on a 2 count, but if I inhaled for 8 counts, I would need to control my breath to make it through 8 counts in one exhale (in this case the exhale is embodied through the singing of a single note to better feel the vibrational frequencies in conjunction with intentional breathing patterns.)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EXoMD4zXCXA1IH-lD16H9M5cx-8cV3_z/view?usp=sharing

I liked doing this exercise because it not only connected my unconscious bodily rhythms with the external rhythms of my environment, but gave me an avenue to autonomously align my internal and external rhythms and relieve anxiety. 

I felt my palpitations notably lessen, and my heart rate decrease to a steady rate, which I once again snapped out the tempo for and recorded.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1csfe2zrLpKkpZupr-n21sguoZ2Fk0EaC/view?usp=sharing

I then wrapped up my conscious listening assignment by recording and being aware of my environment in my improved perceptual state, finding the beauty and resonance between my body and the ongoing rhythms of the universe with a resolution to pursue natural rhythmic synchronicity in all aspects.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LAz1spIS0gsgpH4LacvvULPKtbSfAl-d/view?usp=sharing