Dear Awesome Woman,
I’ve noticed that these past few weeks tension in my body has amped up considerably. With school starting up for the kids, ‘summer loose’ schedules ending, and the regular day to day changes of life, stress is a constant companion.
For me and perhaps for you as well, transition and this kind of busyness can cause me to feel very anxious. My mind buzzes with thoughts like: “I’ll never be able to do it all. I don’t have enough time. There’s so much to do.” along with the uncertainty and worry of the mysterious future – “What if this … happens? What if this …doesn’t happen ?
So how do we manage it? How do we manage this stress which is just a byproduct of life and not allow it to overwhelm us into anxiety? We can’t all be meditation nerds and just sit on mountaintops, cross legged and humming. At least I can’t. And I bet if I tried, I’d find something on that mountaintop to worry about because my mind is super tricky and latches onto all types of fears, irrational and rational. Maybe I’d even worry about the Mountain Goats tripping and falling off the mountain. And I’m terrified of heights, so I’m not going to isolate myself on a mountain top.
I’m staying right here in the nitty and gritty of the real world. Relationships, business, money, mortgages, kids, cars etc. So, instead of alleviating the busyness, let’s alleviate the anxiety or at least lessen it and its effect on our bodies.
First things first, I’ll tune into the physical sensation of the anxiety. Anxiety is not really an emotion itself, but a cover up for the emotions of fear, vulnerability or anger. And since emotions are ‘energy in motion’ and felt as physical sensations in the body, this tuning inward is an important part of allowing energy flow.
When I’m feeling anxious, I’ll notice a kind of buzzing, rushing sensation throughout my body. When I focus more intently, I’ll also notice that my chest feels constricted, my breath shallow and my shoulders tense. I may be clenching my jaw and holding my stomach muscles tight.
This means my cortisol levels are up and adrenalin is in my system. This may be ok to a certain extent because I’m ‘getting stuff done’, but not if it’s gone overboard. No good. Or at least it won’t feel good if I allow all this to continue.
Without taking the time to address these sensations, I’ll wind up with a back ache, a headache, plantar fascitis or some other Mind-body syndrome that will cause pain.
And what about you? What does anxiety feel like in your body?
Tune inward and notice the physical sensations that are presenting themselves. This is emotional energy. By putting attention on it, as uncomfortable as that may feel, you’re actually preventing the energy from getting stuck. Stuck energy leads to tension which leads to pain.
But what other ways can you release those high cortisol levels and prevent them from doing damage to the body?
I’ve come up with a list of five that help me. When I feel that anxiety buzz, these simple techniques gave me a release. Some of them may look and feel silly to you so choose a private place to do them so you’re not inhibited. Your bedroom or a bathroom (even at work) will allow you the privacy you need:
1. The Silent Scream – I got this from Barbara Sher’s book “It’s Only Too Late If You Don’t Start Now.” You just open your mouth like you’re screaming, yet no words come out. Do it a few times, flail your arms out and you’ll feel much better. Don’t worry about looking silly – it’s only you in the room.
2. Write it Out and Throw it Out – Grab a pen and paper and let your mind pour out on the paper. It can be all your fears, worries and annoyances filling up that paper and it won’t matter because you’ll rip it up and throw it away. Write it super messy or neat – doesn’t matter. You never need to look at it again. It’s just getting those looping thoughts out of your head.
3. Talk to Your Inner Child – Again, grab paper and pen, but this time make a line down the center. On one side, pretend to hear all the thoughts of your inner, vulnerable, scared child. On the other side of the paper, be the compassionate adult and just give words of comfort. “Oh, I understand. That does sound scary.” No rationalizations offered, just compassionate support.
4. Run Your Legs in Place or Punch the Air With Your Hands – This is the flight and fight response except you’re not going anywhere or hitting anyone.
5. Imagine the Anxious Part of You in a Pen and Be the Kind Observer – In your imagination, envision the anxious part of you running in a round pen (like they use for horses) and envision the higher soul – self observer part of you in the center of the pen. Allow the anxious part to run and run around, while the centered observer part of you just watches with love and patience. I heard Life Coach Martha Beck suggest this once on a coach call and it brings me a lot of relief when I do it.
These somewhat silly techniques relieve tension for me and I send blessings your way that they do the same for you.
Got a question on accessing your body’s powerful inner resources and soul wisdom? As a Somatic Healer and Clarity Coach, I specialize in personal coaching for women seeking more health and joy in their ever-changing lives. I can help you tap into your own abundant source of healing capabilities and intuitive wisdom to create a life filled with clarity and vitality. Schedule your free Clarity Call here. Looking forward to speaking with you.