Distress is always a biological reaction. Your autonomic nervous system is “triggered” and your body is stuck while your brain is trying to figure out if you should run, hide, or play dead.
To move out of this high-jacked state you must ”hug” your nervous system. This is done in ways most of us have never heard of... so try these “hacks” and see what works best for you.
4 x 4 x 4 Deep Breathing
Inhale deep into your abdomen for a count of 4, hold the breath for a count of 4, blow out each breath as slow as possible, like pushing the air through a straw, while counting to 4. Repeat for 3 minutes. Do NOT overdo it, deep breathing can cause hyperventilation, so after 3 minutes do another bio-hug hack.
3 -10 minutes
Visit a place in you’re your mind that you find soothing and safe... the beach, a park, the mountains, a waterfall, any favorite space that you have actually been before. Focus on each of your five senses in this place— what do you hear, what colors do you see, lick something safe, name objects you touch, smell the air. Where you take your mind... your nervous system will follow.
Where Am I
3 - 5 minutes
Using all five senses, describe where you are quietly to yourself like this: "I see grey walls, soft carpet, 2 brown chairs, two black shelves against the wall... I smell pine-sol in the air, I hear people laughing, it feels warm in here, I have a stale taste in my mouth.” Try to name colors, smells, shapes, and notice the number of items. The more details, the better the exercise will bring you out of your left brain (feelings) and into your right brain (logic).
Book Worm Hack
3 - 5 minutes
Pick up any book, flip to any page, and read that page from the bottom up. Say each word to yourself, slowly. Otherwise, say each letter in the word S---L---O---W---L---Y. This exercise will bring you out of your left brain (feelings) and into your right brain (logic), the two sides are hardly ever operational at the same time.
3- 5 minutes
Sit in a chair or stand next to a wall. Feel your feet on the floor, feel your knees, feel your fingers, feel your shoulders, feel your ears, feel your forehead… send a tingle to each of these parts on purpose, like a buzzer to softly remind you of the control you have over your body and your mind. Do this for 3-5 minutes.
Listen to Nature Sounds or any Spa Radio station on your streaming App, and while you listen, pay attention to each sound. Imagine a gentle massage is moving up your body as you listen, softly remind your muscles to relax. Start again at your feet, work your way up again. If you lose focus, go back to focus. Relax. Breath deeply.
Name 3 things you have to look forward too this week. Distress hates Joy, so bring JOY to your head to push distress out! You MUST write the items down on an actual peace of paper, then keep the paper in your pocket.
Name 5 things you are grateful for in this moment, you MUST write them down on an actual peace of paper. Work and reflect on your list for no less than 3 minutes. Keep the paper in your pocket all day.