So I’m writing again on stuff to do when stress and distress take hold. If it isn’t working it isn’t you, it’s the tool. Mindfulness, movement, breathwork and all that goes with that, is not built to help us all, all the time.
What we need is state dependent. Sometimes sitting still is what we need most in the world, sometimes it will leave is feeling angry or overwhelmed.
Always, ask – How are you right now?
The answer, even if it’s just what your body is up to, can help you find the best self care tools for that moment.
So before you get out your yoga mat, or go for a run. Ask yourself – How are you right now?
Knowing your body and what the different signals it’s sending you mean, can be invaluable to choosing the right self care tools for each moment of your day!
Check these questions out if you want to start learning how to read and respond to your body –
How are you breathing? Slow but shallow or holding without noticing, short and shallow, staccato and jagged ?
What’s your tongue and jaw doing? Floppy and dropping, tense and moving around, clenched and painful ?
What’s your muscle tone like? Jumpy and agitated, frozen and solid, floppy and fatigued ?
What’s happening with your shoulders? Are they pulled back, chest forward; flopping down and heavy, scrunched forwards and tense ?
These are just some of the ways you can start to learn the language of your body, and what’s it telling you about how your doing and what you need right now. You can start to learn to match up your bodies behaviour to a nervous system state, then see what sort of self care it needs right now.
Check this out:
These might not be a perfect match for you, work out your cues and signs and make a personalised map.
Body: fast and/or jagged breath, clenching and unclenched jaw, shoulders back cheat forward, muscle tone jumpy.
Mood: angry, irritable, snapping at others or self.
Need: to release adrenalin, we need to discharge the energy, and only then can you find calm.
Body: tense mouth and jaw, rapid and/or shallow breathing, shoulders tense and forwards, muscles tight and hard.
Mood: anxious and fearful. Worrying, over active mind.
Need: comfort, physical support and warmth, slow steady breathing.
Body: loose jaw and muscle tone, shoulders drooped, breath slow but shallow or holding without noticing, muscle time either frozen and immobile or floppy and immobile.
Mood: disconnected, low, foggy, weary, hopeless.
Need: gentle movement of the lower body to get the nervous system to wake up a little bit, use eye movement to bring the brain back on line.
Get some personal knowledge of your body and mind.
Let this, and not what others tell you you need, lead what you do to find some moments of calm and respite in these harsh times.