You’ve left the building…the city. Worse, you’ve left your body! Sometimes the fear of feeling what you’re feeling is far worse than the experience. It can close down your breathing, contract your whole body, shut down your emotions, create so much anxiety that you dart from thought to thought or place to place. From this place, there is no resolution – no rest. And there is no NOW!
What makes us leave the present? Stress. And the irony is that stress is part of life – small ones and large ones. Good ones and awful ones. (Yes, stress can be positive like getting engaged.) Stress comes in more flavors than Baskin-Robbins. While most people exit the moment at its first warning signs, there’s good news! Really good news.
You don’t have to run or hide. You can take charge of your response. Its easy, much easier than you think.
Here are 5 signs that you’re in trouble and what you can do about them.
One: You’re squeaking!
When we’re not being ourselves, we tend to use a high voice. We’re not projecting from our belly and chances are everything below the neck is starved of breath. Are you talking super fast? Another sign of discomfort.
What to do? Place your hands on your abdomen. Imagine speaking from there. Nice and easy does it. As you speak, feel the support of the floor or chair beneath you.
Two: You’re Contracting!
Am I clenching my butt, my hands or my jaw? Our bodies are billions of cells firing at once and those cells can’t be fooled. Tension in your being is picked up instantly by your body. When you’re not present,, you’re tense.
What to do? Do a body scan. Find the tense culprit and relax that muscle group.
Three: You’ve stopped breathing?
Shallow breathing in the chest area vs. the belly will not only change your voice, it’s also a signal of fear, nervousness and playing the game of inauthenticity.
What to do? Take a few breaths, extending the exhale with an audible sound. Five or six or these will bring the oxygen to all the needed parts and settle your nervous system.
Four: You’ve blocked your feelings.
Not being clear which emotions you are experiencing in a sure sign you’re in trouble.
What to do? Close your eyes and sense into your experience. What image or words arise? Stay with the image (or words) until you can isolate an emotion. Then allow that feeling to unfold.
Five: You’re being hyper-vigilant.
When we’re feeling safe and authentically in the moment, we relax and respond naturally to what’s showing up. When we’re not, we’re hyper-vigilant, watching others for signs that we’re accepted and okay.
When we’re in the present, our reactions are authentic, and we feel safe to shine our gifts onto the world.
What to do? The 4 above in any sequence.
Of course, if you practice during the non-stressful times, you’ll know what to do when the inevitable stresses show up. So what are you waiting for? Start now and head off trouble at the bend.