A splendid Wednesday to you! Today I am sharing a quick no-fail practice for finding greater balance. I use it all the time.
Everyday stressors are an opportunity for self-kindness.
Our stress system is set up like a teeter-toter: It only slants one direction at a time. The energy of our thoughts will either pull us toward fear and constriction OR toward rest and expansion.
When we perceive any threat, even something as small as self-doubt, our bodies respond with tension and our brain activity tips toward the stress center in the mid-brain. Our energy goes toward the primal activity of safety, even if the attack is simply, “Am I good enough?” or “Will they be mad at me?”
This holds us back. It is filled with mental chatter and uncertainty.
To tilt the neural teeter-toter in the opposite direction, shift your attention to notice the present moment. This moves energy toward the part of the brain that can help you observe and soothe yourself, calming your fears and putting you in a more receptive state. The neurons in the pre-frontal cortex start firing making it possible to act on what is truly important to you.
You may want to stop everything but you don’t have to. Just be where you are, feel your body, and look around the room. Little by little, let go of your thoughts and tension. You don’t need them. They don’t help you.
Name what is happening. “Oh, I got caught up worrying about making that deadline.” Or, “I think I shouldn’t have said that thing/acted that way/eaten that donut and now I am scared/ashamed/mad.” Perhaps add a big “Thank you” for the awareness, for your ability to see what is happening and your willingness to address it. You caught your stress system at work trying to protect you. How cool is that? Take charge and let your stress system know…”There really isn’t any danger and so you can rest easy my dear.”
Put your hand on your heart or at your sternum and gently tap or, if you prefer, wrap your arms criss-cross around yourself for a little squeeze. Still in the moment, allow this physical touch to soak in. A kind word or two directed to yourself earn extra credit. Something to acknowledge how you mean well or try hard. Give yourself the same kind support you would a person you deeply care about.
Finally, remember this is how we are made. We all struggle. You are not alone in your challenges, ever. Allow yourself to be a beautiful “perfectly-imperfect” human just like the rest of us.
If you try this, click on the comments and let me know what you think or what adjustments you made to make it fit you! I’d love to hear from you.
All the best,