This week I read a really great post about the out of character behaviours, feelings & reactions many of us are currently expressing & experiencing.
Hands up if you’re feeling a little out of sorts? 🙋🏽♀️🙋🏽♂️🙋🏼
Thinking, saying or doing things you don’t usually?
Drinking a bit more?🍷
Finding it hard to get motivated or feel clear-headed?🤦🏽
Crying randomly? 😢
Lashing out more than usual?🤬
Scrolling endlessly on socials?📱
Comfort eating? 🍩
Feeling overwhelmed? Struggling to sleep? 😴
Flippy or upset tummy?
Getting into arguments? Having very strong opinions of things you wouldn’t normally bother about?
Good news- you’re human!
Everything we’re experiencing is due to our very clever built in survival mechanism.
We are currently in an emotionally heightened climate.
We are saturated in & surrounded by fear, worry, anxiety.
Even if we’re not scared of “the virus”, we’re scared of the massive changes & effects of it
We’re worried about the repercussions, our future, the future of our children
So much is going on in our minds & all around us.
Even if consciously we feel ok, our behaviours & physical symptoms may tell otherwise.
In the face of a threat, our amygdala activates.
It’s what kept us from being eaten by lions or tigers & what enables us to do superhuman things like lift cars when our loved ones are involved.
Right now your brain FEELS & SENSES that there is “a bear out there”🐻
So it is on alert.
Kicking in to ensure you survive.
Hello fight, flight, freeze mode- aka – the stress response.
You are gearing up for battle or escape- your body is being flooded with adrenaline & cortisol.
Your senses are heightened- your heart rate increases, your breathing shallows, your muscles are ready for action
Whether you are personally scared or worried or not, you are picking up on the collective feeling & your body will be feeling it.
Take time to check in & notice your breathing & places of tension in your body
All of these responses are wonderful in immediate life threatening situations.
But what we’re facing now is a long term, chronic threat
Something we must adapt & adjust to for the LONG TERM.
So we must train the brain & body that “we are safe”
“In this moment we are safe”
Staying stuck in what I call “fear gear” inhibits our ability to make decisions, take in information & think rationally
It also hinders our innate ability to produce serotonin, dopamine & oxytocin- all of our feel good neurotransmitters
It strains our immune system & makes our body more susceptible to illness
It interferes with digestion& all of our important “maintenance” activities
Right now it’s more important than ever that we hop back over into the drivers side of our brain & body.
We can do this a number of ways…
I will outline a few here-
1. Take some time to feel into your body. Be present. Breathe. When you’re feeling a little more calm, scan your body. Notice areas of tension or tightness. Give them your attention. Breathe into them. Notice if there are any colours, shapes, memories or messages that come to mind when observing this part of your body. Keep breathing deeply & consciously. I find having my hands on my body helpful & calming (apparently it’s a Japanese method known as Jin Shin). Just giving your attention & awareness & breath can dissipate tension, however sometimes more will be needed – this is when we can use tapping or journaling or yoga
2. Notice your “mind focus”. I tell my clients to take a snapshot of their thoughts. Be curious about these. And consider – are they helpful? True? Are they feeding how you want to feel? In any moment we can change our “train of thought” to get ourselves back on the “right path”. To send the msg to the brain & body we are safe. The brain doesn’t know any different to what YOU tell it. Choose the most helpful thought you can resonate with right now. Repeat it over & over as a mantra. For me, “In this moment I am safe” helps, or “I am strong, healthy & resilient”
3. Once you’ve addressed the mind, it’s time to connect with the body– but really you can start with the body or mind- just be sure to address & connect both elements. The best way to get into the body is to just notice your breathing. Just observe it without trying to change it. When you do this, it often begins to regulate itself. Notice it entering & leaving your nostrils. Whether you are breathing into your chest or tummy.
4. Then ground. Notice your body sinking into & connecting with whatever surface it’s in contact with. If you’re standing imagine roots coming out of your feet. Feel how connected to the earth you are. If you are sitting- feel how solid the chair or couch you are in feels. Allow your body to sink into & be supported by that surface.
5. Then check in with how you’re feeling. Name it. Stressed? Anxious? Afraid? Angry? Just naming it begins to shift it.
6. Now- it’s time to stretch & move the body. Stretch your arms out & up above your head. Reach from side to side. Roll your shoulders. Shake out your arms & hands. Move your hips from side to side & back to front& all around. Then pick up your legs like you’re riding a bike. Alternate between one then the other. Then kick your feet as if kicking a ball. Roll your ankles.￼
7. Then check back in from the top. Thoughts? Feelings? Tension?
You can repeat this process as many times as you need.
It’s brilliant for reconnecting your “right mind” & body.
I created a video on the process here- MATES Instant CALM technique – Get out of STRESS rapidly; relax and relieve tension; destress
This is just ONE way you can support your body & mind to come back to calm during this time- & always
There are many others!
✅Don’t forget about social connection- reach out- get a Zoom call happening with your friends & loved ones! 👨👩👧👦
✅Laugh!! Laughter really IS the best medicine! Over the coming days I will share with you the science of laughter and how it heals & fortifies our mind-body wellbeing 🤣🤣🙌🏻
✅Sunshine the great healer- mentally, emotionally & physically! Give yourself a dose every.single.day!
✅Relax your body with baths or meditation or yin yoga or essential oil body scrubs & rubs- dance!
✅Stop the scrolling!! Limit your consumption of all sources of “news” & information right now! Only get the bare essential updates from the authorities you trust, then step away for the next 24hrs. Be where you are IRL (in real life!) practice PRESENCE. It is so calming to the body & mind!
✅Be aware of escape or numbing practices that are getting out of balance. It’s ok to have a drink here & there (if you can drink moderately!); watch some Netflix; read enjoyable books. But when/if these things become out of balance or “escapes” rather than merely “enjoy in balance”, then notice the effects and choose again ☺️☺️
✅Most of all be kind & loving to yourself & others. We’re all going through this difficult time. We’re all having moments of struggle & overwhelm. Cut yourself & everyone else some slack.
I hope this helps ladies & gents.
Let me know if you have questions, or need help!
I am here.
I am available for 1:1 C.A.L.M Counselling Sessions no matter where you are! These sessions are intended to create a space for you to express, explore and release whatever is going on for you. We work on understanding and unravelling and also building up a toolbox of skills, tools and resources you can use to navigate life and situations that may be causing you stress, anxiety, fear, upset, anger, etc.
Email me to schedule a time- I am currently opening 5 spaces a week for super low cost dedicated counselling sessions.
Also remember that I have opened a FREE group on Facebook with a FREE 90 minute workshop, 5 Day Challenge, Resources and Action Plan. I am checking in there every single day! It’s a truly uplifting, empowering and optimistic space! Come and join us!
All my love,
Dietitian~Counsellor~Eating Psychology Coach
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