Four More Ways To Keep Your Body Calm at All Times
1. Be the guard to your own mind.
I personally choose to call in the “National Guard” as I know how dearly they would want to keep me safe from the mental crocodiles! Simply put, this means, STOP and think before you react to a new thought or new input from an outside source. Stop, take a breath and see if you can adopt what I refer to as “Refuse to Fuse” with the feeling that a negative thought provokes.
BE THE NATIONAL GUARD TO WHICH THOUGHTS YOU ALLOW INTO YOUR MIND AND TO WHICH YOU SAY “NO!”
When you feel the slightest pull or impulse towards getting worked up, over-stimulated, fearful, begin to become very aware of those first reactions. For example; increased heart rate, sweaty palms, agitated, throat tightening, dry throat, butterflies in the belly, intestines starting to churn, blood pressure rising in your head or ears, shortness, or shallow breath, or shaky. These can all be incredibly subtle at first. You want to teach yourself to notice them when they are still subtle. Basic deep breathing in your nose and long exhales out of your mouth can help to avert them from magnifying.
2. SLOW BREATH
Try to inhale to the slow count of 4, hold your breath to the count of 4, exhale to the count of 6, and stay empty (without breath) to the count of 4. Okay? 4-4-6-4. Repeat this 6 times. It’s very easy once you practice it and incorporate it into your body. Don’t push it to happen. If it’s too difficult, it’s because you’re already too worked up, go on to #3.
3. Convince the body that it is still SAFE
When we are already wound up and over-stimulated, angry, fearful, anxious, we have already launched the body’s sympathetic sequence I spoke of earlier of the Fight, Flight, or Freeze Response (see earlier post). It may feel as though it’s too late … “here I go down with the catastrophic crocodile!” This does not have to be the case. Our minds may still know we’re basically safe, but our bodies do not realize it because we are already in the primitive brain response of RUN! So one of the most important tasks is to convince the body that it is still SAFE.
4. Now we implement the STOP PROCESS
- Say STOP when you feel any of those bodily sensations, whether they’re subtle or strong.
- Take a deep breath in your nose and out of your mouth.
- Place your hand on your heart and repeat; “I am not in danger, I am not under threat. I am safe, I am safe.”
- You can say other things afterward; “Yes, I’m agitated, anxious, scared … but I am not in physical danger at this moment. I am safe.”
- Take another deep breath. Bring ALL your attention and focus to your hand and heart. Visualize breathing into your hand and then through your hand into your heart (if it helps to imagine golden light penetrating your hand and heart, then use that image).
- Repeat this for a few seconds or minutes until you feel a shift, like a deeper exhale, acceptance, realization that you really are safe at that moment. The mind knows the truth but your body does not know this truth until you can calm it down enough to convince it.
- Next, bring all your attention down to your legs and feet. I know it sounds weird, but we must get out of our overly anxious minds and down further into our bodies. It is the KEY to getting out of fight or flight. You will feel the change towards calm. Notice the shift.
- Again, our logical rational minds don’t have a chance of taking care of us when we’re in the fight, flight, or freeze mode. We must get out of our busy heads in order to help our bodies to feel safe.
If there is remaining anxiety or anxious thoughts are still present, then TAP them out with EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique; see the next post).