Over the past few weeks like so many others, I have been tapping in and out of heightened states of fear, sadness, anger and despair. It is generally a recurrent pattern playing out. My thoughts start snow balling out of control and simultaneously my body responds with my heart racing, my neck and upper back stiffening and my solar plexus filling up with jittery nerves.
I find myself constantly having to regroup and make new, smarter choices as to how I am going to respond to these overwhelming thoughts and feeling. I remind myself that I choose to live in Israel and that I can choose how to respond to the news, information and stories being spread through social media.
In truth, my natural disposition is to lose myself in the anxiety of what may be, but thankfully I have a greater awareness and many tools that help bring me back again and again and again.
So I may not be able to influence things on a large scale, but I do believe that anger is just a mask for fear and maybe just maybe if more of us took responsibility for how we are feeling and find ways to transmit the pain and fear, there could be less hate and more hope.
So here goes, here are a few things I do when I am feeling overwhelmed.
• Remind yourself you do have a choice about whether you are going to respond or react to events.
• Connect to the present moment through your senses – Look around and notice your environment. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? This is a great way of taking yourself out of your head and back into your body. If thoughts arise from this, take note of what has arisen and then continue to observe your surroundings. When we are fearful, we are generally worrying about ‘what will be’ as opposed to ‘what is right now in this very moment.’ For this reason, reminding yourself that all is well in this moment and focusing on the present, can help to alleviate anxiety.
• Connect to the present moment through your breath – When we are stressed, frightened or in a state of ‘ fight or flight,’ we often restrict the natural flow of our breath. This leaves us feeling depleted, tired and low. Breathing is one of the greatest natural gifts we have been given and we can use it in a variety of ways to calm us down when in need.
There are many different techniques we can use. I am sharing 3 very quick and simple ones.
* Stop! Take 3 deep breathes. Inhale for 3 counts, hold for 3 counts and then exhale for 3 counts.
*Set a timer and notice how many breathes you can count in a minute?
*Sit in an upright chair and consciously notice your feet firmly on the floor. From here, imagine a spotlight on your feet. Take three deep breaths focusing the attention down. This will automatically ground you.
• Take a sip of cold water – This brings awareness back to your body quickly.
• Fear processing exercise – I really like Inelia Benz’s fear processing exercise (https://vimeo.com/41953359 ) It is a simple and effective exercise to help people to release fear from the body and raise their vibration.
• Self –care – Our bodies store all our memories, emotions, traumas etc on a cellular level. If your body is feeling tight or you are feeling run down, take time out for yourself and focus on self- care. Whether it be acupuncture, breath work therapy, massage, reflexology, reiki, shiatsu, yoga class, jog in the park, dancing at home or a full on kickboxing session – it does not matter what it is, so long as it feels right to you and allows your body to surrender and release the tension being stored.
It is when too much tension builds up that one becomes irritable and angry so let’s all take responsibility for our well -being.
• Gratitude lists – My final tip for today is to take time each day to either write or say out loud a list of things you are grateful for… There is no better way to raise your vibration than to focus on what we are thankful for…
We are all in this together; we are all suffering at times. We don’t need to feel helpless. If we all take some time to address ourselves, there will be more people around feeling more centered and peaceful and let’s hope it creates a domino effect.
Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions, need further clarification or more practice ideas. I am happy to help Maxine xx