My body and emotions were anxious
My body and emotions were anxious, not calm, after hearing that my daughter was taking her youngest to the Emergency Room. I was worried, scared, and a bit teary. She lives hours from me, and driving there was difficult. Tension emerged in my whole body. I impatiently waited for an update on her little one. Thankfully, my granddaughter is OK. But that in between time of not-knowing was stressful! It helped to use a simple process for my body to calm those anxious emotions.
As we all know, anxiety and stress drains our energy, creates tension, and increases irritability. I felt all of those. So, what did I do?
My body helped me calm down
I was frenzied and off-balance with the news of my granddaughter’s illness and believed I had no choice but to sit in Santa Fe and do nothing. However, I remembered Mark Walsh’s 3 step process to use the body as a resource to help change one’s emotional state.
Walsh is the founder of The Embodied Facilitator Course as well as the Conference. (I am attending his Embodiment for Professional Leaders Academy.) His main focus is to help people come home to the resources of the whole body and not be compulsively driven by the mind. When the body is in “brain-taxi” (Walsh’s term) mode, one acts frenzied, tense, off-balance, anxious and other such loss of control states. Embodiment helps you come home to your body, to awareness, and to choice.
A simple process you can follow too
Walsh’s process is to: 1) gain awareness of what body pattern you are expressing, 2) turn your focus onto your body, and 3) choose a new body pattern that reflects what you want.
So, I first became aware that my body was slightly leaning forward with my head tilted down a bit. My body felt limp in my muscles and tense in my stomach. Secondly, I took a few deep breaths to become more body-centered. Lastly, from an aware and body-centered state, I chose a body stance that reflected my choice to be relaxed. It was a simple stance of having my feet hip-width apart, long “tall” spine, and feet grounded. Next I rolled my shoulders up and back a few times. The process took 1-2 minutes.
Sounds crazy, but amazingly, my body helped my anxious emotions to calm down! I felt more at ease. I was breathing more deeply instead of taking shallow breaths. The problem was still there, but now I was more relaxed than overcome with anxiety. That simple practice is a powerful tool to tap into one’s inner resources and re-focus. (NOTE: Use this process first on low level emotional issues, i.e., those states that might have a 1-3 impact on you instead of a 10.)
This practice calmed my emotions and helped me realize that I could do other things to stay connected instead of traveling. I had forgotten about sending a Marco Polo or FaceTiming. I decided to clear my schedule a bit in case I needed to travel. With calmer emotions and with less fear coursing through my nervous system, I was able to think of options I could do instead of staying stuck in what I couldn’t do.
Your body is a great resource
Embodiment practices, like the above, can not only change one’s emotional state but unleash creative ideas for planning and problem solving. I often use creative processes like these in my coaching. If you want more info, contact me here: www.lisalmcgee.com, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.