Don’t move for a moment.
Just be still and take note of your posture, your tension, and body pain.
Now take a deep breath in through your nose and as you exhale focus on relaxing the tension in your body. Did you notice anything?
Did your shoulders drop? Maybe your head pulled back over your neck? Your jaw relaxed perhaps? Your back stopped hurting for half a sec?
Tension is a CRAZY thing and what’s even crazier is that we do it to ourselves! We normally don’t notice or realize we are doing it till it’s already become a habit…. Tension can be caused by stress and unconscious body tensioning or it can be caused by poor posture and movement habits.
Either way, it’s uncomfortable!
But which came first? The tension or the stress?
It’s all one big circle, much like the chicken and the egg question.
No matter what the original cause was it can eventually give us pain physically and emotionally. Depending on how we handle our tension and stress it can cause everything from high blood pressure to migraines, to much worse.
What’s needed in order to handle it is a set of tools that you can grab at the right moment. I’ll talk more about this at the end, but for now, go back to your body. How does it feel? Take another deep breath and again relax your body tension. Did you notice the same tensioning as before, even though you just released it?
There’s a good chance you did.
Let me tell you why.
Our brain is wonderful. It wants more than anything to make us happy and so it strives to give us exactly what we ask for.
If we have asked for our shoulders to rise up towards our ears or our jaw to clench on a daily basis without us paying attention, it will eventually learn and happily keep your body in that SAME position even when you don’t ask it to; while you are sleeping, lifting weights, or driving your car, for instance.
You can carry tension anywhere in your body. And like I said above, you then you carry that tension unknowingly with you in your daily life making things hard. Do you know where you carry yours? It may be in your pelvic floor, your low back, your forearm muscles, or even your pinky toe.
And do you know the first step to changing it?
Become aware of it.
This is just step one, of course. But you can’t release it until you know it’s there now can you?
Start to tune into your body on a daily basis.
Engage your interoception.
We all have interoceptive awareness within us but it’s not always used. Interoception is a rarely discussed sensory system that helps you to perceive internal body awareness such as hunger, respiration, digestive elimination, etc….
For some, this internal awareness is automatic and for others is a skill they must practice to become better at. But you CAN become better at it. And there is no time to start like the present.
All it takes to start is to stop yourself every once in a while and notice what you are doing, how you are standing, which muscles are unnecessarily tense at that moment. Then see if you can relax those muscles or change your posture while doing the same movement.
For instance, I noticed at one point that when I would pour something from a heavy pitcher I keep in my fridge that my shoulders would tense up and practically leap up to my ears.
Hmmmm… I thought.
I tested again wondering at first if it was because I did not have the arm muscle strength to lift it and so was using my entire shoulder area to help compensate.
But when I tested it to see, I found that I did indeed have the arm strength to lift and pour. It was just a bad habit that made me use my entire shoulder system.
Once I figured it out, I was able to consciously relax my shoulders every time I lifted that pitcher and then over time my brain realized I only wanted to use my arm muscles, and that become my norm.
Another example is doing hair or makeup in a mirror. Note your posture and head position. Do you tilt your head putting your neck at an odd angle? What about your shoulders when you are using a hair dryer?
I found that I was contorting myself into weird angles unnecessarily and really feeling body tension in the mornings. When I released it and changed my posture my whole body relaxed and my day started out better.
We all do this, and we do it over and over again in many varied ways. You might be very surprised to find out that something like a migraine is created by a posture that you don’t even realize you do!
Now, I’m backtracking to the beginning of the article where I said that we all need a box of tools to pull out when we needed.
Just like you need a hammer for some jobs and a screwdriver for others, you need multiple ways of dealing with stress/tension in both body and mind in your life.
To that end, I’m offering a one-night event in my studio and you are invited!!
Tapping into Calm
It’s this coming Monday, Sept 11th, 2017 7:00-8:30 pm.
I’m excited to teach you the amazing tool of EFT – “Emotional Freedom Technique” (otherwise known as “Tapping”).
I’ve been using this in my own life for 15 years and have found it to be a lifesaver when it comes to releasing stress and worry. And I’ve even created a technique to help release body tension with it too. Let me teach you the basics so you can put this to work in your own life. The cost is only $15. Bring your friends and help them de-stress too.
Let’s add another tool to your toolbox.